Bail set at $250k for Salem teen charged as adult in sexual assault of baby

MARION COUNTY — Bail has been set at $250,000 for a 16-year-old Salem man charged as an adult Wednesday in Marion County Court for the alleged sexual assault of a 10-month-old baby girl.

Justin Atteberry was charged Wednesday with Class X felony aggravated criminal sexual assault resulting in bodily harm, after Salem police and the Department of Children and Family Services conducted an investigation into injuries that sent the baby girl first to Salem Township Hospital and then to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Justin Atteberry (Source: MCSO)
Justin Atteberry
(Source: MCSO)

According to State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach, Atteberry’s mother is an at-home childcare provider in Salem, and the alleged victim is one of her clients.

Wilzbach says that after the mother of the baby picked the child up from daycare Tuesday, she took her home and when changing her discovered blood in the baby’s diaper.

She took the child to the hospital in Salem and a cursory examination revealed obvious injuries to the baby and the child was then taken to Children’s Hospital, where severe anal tearing and bruising was confirmed.

The Department of Children and Family Services was notified, as was the Salem Police Department, and an investigation pointed to Atteberry, who reportedly admitted during a videotaped interview to performing acts on the baby using a Matchbox type car that resulted in the injuries noted at the hospitals.

Wilzbach says that although Atteberry is a juvenile, he must be charged as an adult based upon the Juvenile Court Act requirements, and because of the Act, he is not entitled to privacy rights afforded juveniles.

While the Act prohibits him from being housed with adults a provision of his arraignment prohibits him from having contact with individuals under the age of 18, so a compromise was reached in that he will be housed in a medical isolation cell at the Marion County Jail. He is next scheduled in court January 5, 2016, for a preliminary hearing with his court appointed attorney.

DCFS immediately pulled the license for the daycare and it was quickly shut down.