POLICE: 15-year-old girl sexually assaulted in freezer room of Seymour gas station
Police say the victim went to the convenience store to get a coke -- but the machine was out of ice. That's when the suspect allegedly invited her into the freezer room...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Seymour Police say they've arrested a clerk and part-owner of a gas station in Seymour, Ind., after he sexually assaulted a young teen in a freezer room at the gas station.
Amandeep Singh, 33, was arrested on Friday.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the incident took place just after 10 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27. Court documents indicate that the victim was a 15-year-old girl.
The alleged crime came to light when the victim's mother was told that her daughter had been absent from Seymour High School, where she is a student. While waiting to speak with the principal about her daughter's truancy, the mother was approached by one of her daughter's close friends, who told her that, "she needs to find out what has been going on at the old gas station." Specifically, the friend told her that the clerk at the gas station had inappropriately touched and kissed her daughter, and had done things "that weren't appropriate to say at a school setting."
The gas station in question, according to police, was the gas station at 829 N. Ewing Street in Seymour.
The victim's mother asked her what happened, then took her to Seymour Police, to whom she gave a statement.
Police say the victim told them that she walked to the gas station on Sunday, Nov. 27, just before 9:50 p.m., to buy tea for her grandmother. Singh, a clerk and part-owner of the station -- as a well a friend of the victim's family -- was working that night. The girl purchased the tea, then took it to her grandmother's home, before returning to the gas station just before 10 p.m.
She said she walked to the back of the gas station to get a soda, but the ice machine was out of ice. At that point, she said Singh grabbed a bag of ice, walked to the back of the freezer room, and asked her to follow. She told police that the reason she followed was because she thought Singh just wanted to talk, "since they have known each other all of her life."
At that point, the girl said, Singh began kissing and fondling her.
The victim told police that she then informed Singh that she needed to go home -- but Singh allegedly responded by telling her that she should stay a little longer. When she tried to pull away, police say Singh would not let her go. When the girl told Singh that she did not want to engage in this behavior, Singh allegedly told her that it didn't matter because "she did not have a boyfriend." At this point, the victim says she got very scared and was trembling.
Police say Singh then exposed himself and forced the girl to fondle him.
At this point, police say the victim told Singh that she had to leave and forced him aside -- and Singh warned her not to tell anyone what happened.
Police say that, as she was relating the incident to investigators, the victim was "crying and upset," and said she believed the incident was her fault because "she felt that she did not try hard enough to get away from" Singh. Police told her that this was not her fault, and encouraged her to talk to school counselors.
On Friday, Seymour Police say they executed a search warrant at the gas station and questioned Singh, who "immediately denied" the allegations. Singh told officers that he had been accused of similar crimes in 2012, and as a result, moved out of Seymour in order to "keep away from any potential trouble." He said he recently moved back to Seymour to open the convenience store.
Police say Singh told them that he looks at the victim "as a daughter" and "would never do a thing to hurt her," but could not explain why she would make such allegations. He also said that he couldn't remember what happened on the night of Sunday, Nov. 27, and -- according to court documents -- gave contradictory statements about his store's closing time, at first stating that the store closes at 10 p.m., then saying later that it closes at 11 or 11:30 p.m.
When questioned about why he would ask the victim to go to the freezer room, Singh allegedly responded that "he always allows customers in the cooler." Police say this is odd, "as most convenience stores do not allow customers in the area behind the drinks stored in the cooler."
According to court documents, police were eventually able to obtain surveillance video from the store on the night in question. Police say it clearly showed Singh enter the freezer room, with the victim behind him. According to police they were in the freezer room for a few minutes, and when the victim emerged, she was rubbing her face with the coat sleeve. Police say her body language was "completely different" and showed that she was "upset."
Singh was arrested on Friday. He's charged with two counts of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of criminal confinement. He is currently being held in the Jackson County Detention Center.
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