North Salt Lake Neighborhood On High Alert Amid Sexual Assault Investigation
NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah – A neighborhood in North Salt Lake was on high alert Friday, as police met with concerned parents and continued their investigation of a sexual assault on a young girl.
“We just don’t know where it happened, where they can be safe…was it random?” Those are just a few of the questions Jennifer Stroud and dozens of other parents asked at a meeting with North Salt Lake Police on Friday.
Detectives are investigating a sexual assault on a young girl between 8 and 11 years old. “Understandably she is traumatized,” Police Chief Craig Black said, “physically as well as emotionally.”
Chief Black says the victim’s parents first called police from the hospital late Monday night. “She was at a local hospital being treated for some very serious injuries that were indicative of a sexual assault.”
Detectives spoke to the parents and their daughter and left with a couple of different versions of events. One of those versions include a boy around the same age as the victim, sexually assaulting her at a neighborhood park earlier Monday night.
Chief Black says in his nearly 10 years with the department, “we have never had this kind of stranger-based sexual attack against a child or adult in this neighborhood that I’m aware of.”
“That’s kind of worrisome,” Stroud said after learning the person responsible may be a child.
“It is startling,” Black added, “however it is not unheard of.”
At this point in the investigation there are no additional details on the person responsible, but police say the young victim did not recognize the boy. And that’s one reason why police decided to call a meeting with concerned parents.
“Who or what are we dealing with here?” parent Kristie Lindhardt said. “That’s the concern.” She and others were glad to see the police department make the effort to meet with community members.
But the questions and concerns remain. As does the challenge of how to talk to their children about the incident. “Not sure how that’s going to go because we don’t want to scare them,” said Stroud, who has girls around the same age as the alleged victim.
Chief Black’s advice to parents is to always “know where our children are and who they’re with.”
The North Salt Lake Police Department has stepped up patrol in the neighborhood with extra officers and detectives in unmarked cars.
Still, parents like Stroud worry about the unknown, as their children go out to play. “They do need to be aware that if you don’t know this person, regardless of age, be careful.”
The young girl was treated and released from the hospital on Monday, the same night of the alleged assault. Detectives are allowing her time to recover before they seek more information from her and her parents about the incident.