Winthrop Harbor teen charged with sexually abusing three children at day care

  • Brett A. Degler

    Brett A. Degler

Posted3/20/2012 5:50 PM

A 17-year-old was charged with sexually abusing three young girls at his mother's licensed residential day care, Winthrop Harbor Police officials said Tuesday.


Brett A. Degler has been charged as an adult with four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse following a two-week investigation at the unidentified day care facility, Detective Sgt. Chris Willets said.

Degler is being held in Lake County jail on a $500,000 bond, Willets said.

Two of the victims were 11 years old, and the third was 4 at the time of the attacks, Willets said.

The first victim, a 4-year-old, complained of pain to her parents on March 7, and the parents contacted a hospital and police early the next morning, Willets said. Degler was arrested on March 9 and admitted to assaulting a second victim during a police interview, Willets said.

Police said the attacks started in November and have been "ongoing" for five months.

Willets added the day-care facility was owned and operated by Degler's mother, Cheryl, out of her home and she had no knowledge of the attacks.

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Cheryl Degler voluntarily terminated her day-care license when police informed her of the attacks, and it is no longer operating as a day-care facility, Willets said.

He said Cheryl Degler will not be charged in the case.

Police said the attacks occurred when she was in a different room in the house or out at a store.

Two other people in the house were licensed as day-care workers, but Brett Degler was not, Willets said.

"There were times when he was left alone with the kids, not too often," Willets said.

He said the Lake County Children's Advocacy Center conducted the child-sensitive interviews and the victims were treated at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Police obtained a roster of children that had spent time at the day care center, but are unsure of its accuracy, Willets said.

Police do not believe there are more victims, but are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Sgt. Willets at (847) 872-2131 ext. 271.

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