11 years for man who sexually assaulted child during her online class

CHICAGO — Catrell Walls, the Chicago man accused of sexually assaulting his 7-year-old female cousin while she participated in remote school classes during the COVID pandemic, has pleaded guilty in exchange for an 11-year sentence.

Less than two months after posting bond in a felony gun case, Walls sexually assaulted the girl while she was participating in an online class on October 15, 2020.

Other students who were logged on during the study period drew the teacher’s attention to the incident. Walls was seen closing the girl’s laptop after the assault was discovered, prosecutors said.

The class was on break at the time, and the students had been instructed to mute themselves and turn off their cameras until the session resumed, but the victim’s camera remained on.

The teacher notified the school principal, who contacted the police, the girl’s family, and state authorities.

Catrell Walls | Chicago Police Department

Officials said that school leaders and the child’s father went to her Chatham home, and she told them what happened, adding that it was not the first time Walls had assaulted her.

Judge Sophia Atcherson handed Walls the 11-year sentence on Wednesday and gave him 1,036 days of credit toward his prison time. She also ordered him to register as a sex offender, submit DNA to a law enforcement database, and undergo STD and HIV testing, according to court records.

Walls pleaded guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under the age of 13. Prosecutors dropped two similar charges in their deal with Walls. They also agreed to drop the felony gun charge he was on bail for at the time of the attack.

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