The now 17-year-old son of a Salem day care provider has entered an open plea of guilty in Marion County Court to a Class X charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault.
Justin Atteberry of Mills Cart Road admitted to sexually assault a ten month old girl who was being cared for at the home day care center. Sentencing has been set for November 16th.
State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach earlier said the girl's mother discovered her daughter's diaper on backwards and blood inside after picking her up in December 2015. After initial treatment at Salem Township Hospital, the girl was transferred to Children's Hospital in St. Louis where four anal tears and bruising were confirmed. The criminal charge states Atteberry by the use of force inserted an object into the girl causing the bodily harm.
Police began their investigation at the day care because it was last place the girl had been. Fresh blood was found on a changing table. The investigation led to Atteberry.
At the time of the arrest, Wilzbach says Atteberry initially denied any responsibility, but eventually confessed to committing the act in a video recorded interview. Atteberry indicated a Matchbox type car was used to cause the injury, but never gave a reason for why he committed the alleged act.
The State's Attorney says this is one of four sex crimes where a juvenile who is at least 15 years old is automatically tried as an adult.