Priyang Parikh wasn't looking for free drinks, entertainment or food when he crashed an Elmhurst wedding reception -- according to prosecutors, he was there to molest children.
The 31-year-old Virginia man's jury trial opened Wednesday in DuPage County.
Parikh is accused of sneaking into a September 2010 gala at an Elmhurst banquet hall and exposing himself to a 7-year-old girl. Prosecutors said he flew in from his home in Alexandria, Va., despite not knowing the newlyweds or any of their 500 guests.
"Little did they know, there was a predator in their midst," Assistant State's Attorney Anne Therieau said in opening statements.
Therieau told jurors video footage would show Parikh trying to fit in with the crowd as he "scoped, searched and found some children to meet his sexual needs" in a hallway outside the main reception area, where they were playing tag.
She said Parikh had the children line up and offered them lollipops, then took a 7-year-old girl into another room and told her to close her eyes and open her mouth. When the girl peeked, she saw him with his pants and underwear around his ankles, Therieau said. The girl screamed, and the children chased Parikh from the building.
More than a month went by before Parikh was identified. He eventually called police after investigators circulated his photo in the media and confessed that he intended to sexually assault the child, Therieau said.
"That was his plan, and that's exactly what he admitted to," she said.
Defense attorney David Duncan didn't specifically address his client's conversation with police but tried to cast doubt on the girl's story, suggesting in opening statements that she "imagined something."
Duncan told the jury the girl gave incorrect details about Parikh's clothing, his rental car and general appearance. He added that some wedding guests were "constantly going in and out" of the room where the girl said Parikh tried to assault her, and the room had windows that people could look through as they passed by.
"There was no hiding, no secrecy involved," Duncan said.
He also contended, without elaborating, that Parikh was in town for a wedding but did not go to the right one.
Judge Kathryn Creswell is presiding over the trial, which is expected to wrap up Thursday or Friday. Parikh remains free on a $40,000 bond and faces charges of sexual exploitation of a child and attempted predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.