Dennis Barnes caught kissing and fondling the child of a fellow Chicago police officer
A Cook County judge opted to clear longtime Chicago police sergeant Dennis Barnes of the molestation and sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead on the far-lesser charges of misdemeanor battery. As a result of the judge’s ruling, Barnes’ only punishment will be to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling and 60 days in a Cook County Jail.
Barnes was originally charged with felony attempted predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The victim in question was 9 years old at the time of the assault in August 2014.
Barnes resigned from the force three months after he was charged.
In an unusual and suspiciously prejudicial move, Judge Charles Burns declined to find Barnes guilty on the more serious charges because he said prosecutors had failed at trial to prove that the defendant fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal, despite the judge in his own words admitting that “something was going on, and that’s something that I find disturbing.”
The victim’s mother, unnamed by the original source and herself a Chicago police officer, had initially invited the sergeant over to her home for a family barbecue, but things quickly became abusive when prosecutors claim Barnes began “grooming” the girl for the assault by massaging her feet and legs.
When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.
The victim’s mother believes that the judge’s decision was the result of preferential treatment given due to Barnes service with the Chicago Police Department.
“I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it because of all the evidence,” the victim’s mother said wiping away her tears “The judge even admitted that it disgusted him, so why would you say it’s only a misdemeanor battery?”
For his part, Barnes apologized Wednesday to the judge, offering up a halfhearted rationale of intoxication as the justification behind his behavior.
“I’m deeply, deeply regretful,” said Barnes, 63 “Whatever it was, was an accident, but I feel sorry for her.”
Prosecutors and activists adamantly rejected that claim, alleging that Barnes was not only completely aware of his actions, but that he deliberately used his position of power to coerce the young girl into doing what he asked.
“(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Cenica told the judge, “And she testified that she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble.”
The victim’s mother, like Injustice.in, expresses deep skepticism that this ruling and associated sentencing would have been anywhere as lenient if the defendant was a civilian, let alone a person of color.
“I mean I’ve never heard of anybody being charged with two felony sexual charges and then getting a misdemeanor battery,” the mother said. “I’ve never heard of that, and I’ve been doing this job for a long time.”
After the attack, the victim became withdrawn and continues to struggle with chronic nightmares and bed-wetting, spending months in counseling before “finally being able to accept that all policemen aren’t monsters.”