A history of debilitating assaults and sexual abuse stretches behind the 17-year-old now accused of attacking and sodomizing his 6-year-old neighbor
, a family friend said Monday.
And the alleged assault may not have been the beginning
of the West Valley City teen's problem behavior, said his next-door neighbor, Angie Houghton.
The teen was charged Monday in 3rd District Juvenile Court with multiple felonies in connection with the Sept. 11 attack. Charges state the boy confessed to choking the girl, sexually abusing her and throwing her unconscious body into Houghton's yard next door.
Initially, he was credited with discovering the youngster and reporting the incident.
But Houghton fears the assault may be part of a tragic cycle that started with the suspect's own abuse at the hands of his birth parents.
"There was brain damage," Houghton said of the teen, who, along with his sister, was adopted. "He had to take medication for seizures."
The teen also was reported to have suffered sexual abuse, Houghton said.
Both the teen and his younger sister were adopted with mental disabilities in connection to their abuse, Houghton said, adding that their father also volunteers with a Boy Scout group for disabled children.
The Salt Lake Tribune has been unable to reach the father for comment since the teen was arrested. Before the arrest, he called his son a hero for reporting the incident and said he was disabled.
The teen's father approached Houghton's fiance several months ago to ask that their children only visit the teen's house with permission, saying only that the boy had been involved in an incident with a girl, Houghton said.
"We took it as not being something serious," said Houghton, adding that the teen's father did not describe the incident or characterize it as sexual. "Maybe they didn't know how serious he could have gotten."
Charging documents -- based on statements from the victim and the teen's alleged confession -- claim the teen lured the girl into his backyard. He pushed her to the ground and began choking her. The girl fought back, scratching the boy's face and neck, and she lost a tooth during the struggle.
The girl passed out
, and the boy, according to documents, pulled down her pants and committed two sex acts. But he told police he stopped short of having sexual intercourse.
Then, believing she was not breathing, he threw her body over the fence
into the yard next door, charges state.
The boy then allegedly reported to his sister and a neighbor that while mowing the lawn, he noticed the girl -- hurt, bleeding and naked -- lying next to the fence in the neighbor's yard.
The girl -- who was hospitalized but released the following day -- described her assailant as 16 to 18 years old, with light brown hair and wearing blue pants and a gray shirt, charges state.
Police say they noted that the boy and his clothing matched that description
. They also noted dark brown spots on the shirt
, and that the boy had bloody scratch marks on his face and neck and an abrasion on his right knee
The boy told police the spots were food stains and that the injuries came from getting off the school bus several days earlier, charges state. But the stains later tested positive for human hemoglobin.
After police arrested the boy, he voluntarily stated: "Tell the little girl I am sorry for what I did to her," according to charges.
He then stated he "wanted to get it off his chest" and allegedly made a confession.