CHICAGO (CBS) — For the second time in as many weeks, a carnival worker stands charged with sexually assaulting small children.
In the latest case, Wilfredo Elias, 29, of Chicago, apparently is not accused of molesting children who happened to attended the carnival where he worked, but rather a 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old of an unspecified gender whom he was supposed to be caring for on several occasions.
Elias is charged with one felony count each of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and manufacturing child pornography, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
He was arrested on a warrant last week in Missouri while traveling with the carnival where he worked, and was ordered held without bond when he was returned to Chicago.
In July, a witness found a USB flash drive in a family storage area that belonged to Elias. Upon plugging in the device, the witness found several video files, one of which showed Elias sexually assaulting a child, prosecutors said.
The witness told a family member, who called police, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said investigators later found several video images showing Elias assaulting each of the two toddlers. The investigators identified both victims, and learned that they had both been left in Elias’ care at several points over the past year, prosecutors said.
In that incident, the 3-year-old and an older sibling were in a fun house at the Schaumburg Village Septemberfest on Sunday, Sept. 2, when the younger child became scared to go downa slide.
The children’s father tried to go in to help, but Adam J. Moyers, 19, of Franklin Park, blocked him and shut down the fun house as he went in himself and molested the child, Schaumburg police said.
Moyers was charged with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault.
The problem of sex offenders and other dangerous people working for carnivals is hardly a new one. Back in 2006, CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini learned that some carnival companies were hiring sex offenders, as well as drug dealers, armed robbers, and murderers.
Investigators in 2006 found 225 carnival workers with a combined record of 744 arrests and 184 convictions.
In 2007, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a law requiring carnival operators to conduct background checks on workers, and prohibit convicted sex offenders from working at carnivals or amusement parks.
The State’s Attorney’s office did not disclose whether Elias has a criminal record, what carnival company he worked for, or whether he was suspected of abusing any children at the carnival. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 2, and could face life in prison if convicted.