A Waukegan man allegedly sexually assaulted a child, who was younger than 10 and a family member of his, on multiple occasions in Waukegan, prosecutors said.
Mario J. Saldana, 29, of Waukegan, was indicted by a grand jury this month on eight counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Brooke Wanzenberg said a child, who is related to Saldana, attended an assembly at her elementary school regarding the dangers of sexual abuse.
Following the presentation, the girl, who is under the age of 10, reported to her teacher last month that Saldana had been inappropriately touching her.
A forensic interview was conducted at the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center.
The victim reported she had been sexually assaulted by Saldana at various times between July and November at a residence in Waukegan, Wanzenberg said.
The girl told Saldana to stop but he ignored her, Wanzenberg said, adding that Saldana told the child to keep what happened a secret and that he would purchase her a toy.
The child also reported Saldana showed her pornographic photographs and said he wanted them to commit the acts in the photos, Wanzenberg said.
Wanzenberg said the child was also previously sexually abused by Saldana while they were in another state.
Wanzenberg said the child did not even understand what was happening to her until she attended the Erin’s Law presentation at her school recently.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office filed a petition to detain Saldana pending trial, arguing he poses a danger to the child.
Attorney Doug Roberts, who is representing Saldana, said in court that there is no physical evidence in the case.
Roberts also said Saldana denies all of the allegations against him.
Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak granted the state’s petition and remanded Saldana to the Lake County Jail.
A case management conference is scheduled for Monday.