A 16-year-old is now facing felony charges as an adult accused of molesting a six-year-old boy in a department store bathroom. Now police tell 10News that six more victims have come forward.
The most recent boy says the teen touched him in the Tarpon Springs TJMaxx Bathroom. Now, police tell 10News that 2 kids in Hillsborough County and 4 in Pasco County claim they're victims of the same accused attacker.
The mother of the 6-year-old boy says she’s outraged the potential predator wasn't stopped sooner.
“Are you kidding me? I can't believe he attempted six times previous before my child,” the victim’s mother says.
She’s in shock that her son's accused attacker may have done something similar to 6 other kids. 10News is now naming 16-year-old Daniel McNulty, because he's charged as an adult.
Police initially released a picture of McNulty leaving TJMaxx, hoping the public could help track him down. That's when investigators say other families came forward with similar stories of abuse that were never reported.
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“Had they come forward, then this would've been avoided. It wouldn't have happened to my child,” says the victim’s mom.
Prosecutors have now decided that McNulty, who we're told has some form of autism, will face the felony molestation charge as an adult.
McNulty's aunt and guardian, Patricia Short, says it's not right. “This is a disabled child,” says Short. When asked if she thinks McNulty knew what he was doing, she replies, “Of course he didn’t.”
“For him to try to leave the store immediately, lets me know he was more than aware of his wrongdoing,” the victim’s mom says.
But did evidence of potential crimes disappear? The six-year-old says while in the bathroom, McNulty tried to take a picture of his private parts with an iPad.
Police tell 10News that his guardian claimed the iPad had been dropped and damaged so she threw it out. Because investigators couldn't prove the damaged iPad was still on the property or in the home, police say they couldn't get a search warrant to try to recover pictures of any possible victims.
“She's trying to protect him, obviously there's something in there. You do the crime, you do the time,” says the victim’s mom.
McNulty is now facing very adult consequences, possibly prison time.
“I hope to God someone like Bernie McCabe (the Pinellas County State Attorney) comes to his senses,” says Short.
The 16-year-old remains in juvenile jail until he faces a judge in adult court on November 7th.
Police say they’re working the other reported cases with Hillsborough and Pasco investigators and ask any other victims to come forward.