A judge denied bail for an 18-year-old man who sexually assaulted a family member in plain view of the camera during an e-learning session. Authorities say that a teacher and other students witnessed the event as it occurred. The assault occurred during a break in the girl’s online class.
The teacher was working on a different computer during the break when she heard two of the students ask what was going on. When the teacher opened her screen back up, she witnessed the girl being assaulted. The teacher then yelled for the students to log off at which point the defendant Catrell Walls picked up the laptop and closed it.
The teacher reported the incident to the principal who alerted police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Her father, the principal, and the school’s CEO went to the girl’s home. She told them that Walls “just hit her.” Later, the girl described the sexual assault and said that it had happened before.
Police say that the defendant, Catrell Walls admitted to both the assault witnessed on video and prior sexual assaults since the girl had turned 6.
The defendant is an 18-year-old senior in high school. While he was being interrogated by police, police say he broke down crying telling them that he did not know why he did it. Walls has been diagnosed with ADHD and his defense attorney says, this impairs his ability to control his impulses.
Walls faces one count of predatory criminal sexual assault.
Predatory criminal sexual assault is charged as a Class-X felony, which in Illinois, has the most severe penalties. A conviction under this statute carries a mandatory minimum prison term of six years with a maximum of 60. There are also several conditions that can escalate the charges, but they involve the use of a weapon or causing permanent bodily injury or disfigurement, so they are not relevant to this case.
At this point, the defendant has already admitted that the abuse occurred, and it happened on video. The question the court must determine is to what extent the defendant’s mental illness played a major role in impulse control. The fact that the defendant appeared remorseful when police asked him about the assaults could work to his advantage. But no one is going to forget the fact that this defendant, regardless of what his mental health diagnoses are, is a threat to children everywhere.
So, the court will need to weigh the defendant’s diminished capacity, if it believes that the defendant’s capacity is diminished by the ADHD diagnosis, against society’s need to protect its children.
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If you are facing criminal charges in the Chicago area, then call criminal defense attorney David Freidberg at (312) 560-7100 today to learn more about how we can defend you from the charges.