Catrell Walls, 21, pleaded guilty to a felony sexual assault charge on Wednesday. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped two other related felony charges and an unrelated, prior weapons charge, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The judge sentenced Walls to 11 years in prison.
On Oct. 15, 2020, the 7-year-old girl was at her grandmother's home and participating in her first-grade remote-learning class. The class was given a short break, and the teacher instructed students to turn off their cameras and mute their microphones. The 7-year-old girl reportedly muted her computer but did not turn off the camera on the laptop during the Google Meets session.
WFLD reported, "When the teacher opened the screen back into her online class, she saw the 7-year-old girl with her pants pulled down and Walls forcing her to perform oral sex, prosecutors said."
The teacher allegedly immediately yelled for the other students to log off. The teacher said Walls picked up the laptop and shut it closed.
The teacher informed the school's principal of the sexual assault she witnessed during the remote-learning class. The principal contacted the girl's family, Chicago police, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, prosecutors said.
The girl's father, the principal, and the school's chief executive officer went to the South Side home. According to prosecutors, the girl said she was sexually assaulted by her cousin, and stated that he sexually abused her in the past.
The girl was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital for examination.
Walls – an 18-year-old high schooler at the time – was arrested the next day. During an interrogation by detectives, Walls reportedly confessed to sexually assaulting his cousin during the livestream class. He also allegedly admitted to sexually abusing his cousin since she turned 6 years old during the interview with detectives.
"I don’t know why, I’m sorry, I’m sorry," Walls told officers as he broke down in tears during his confession, according to Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Andreana Turano.
Turano said at a bond hearing that the girl told investigators that the sexual abuse is a "secret," and added, "I don’t want my daddy to know."
During the trial, Walls' attorney claimed his client had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which impairs his ability to control his impulses.
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