A Cook County judge on Thursday set bail at $100,000 for a Chicago police sergeant accused of kissing and fondling a 9-year-old girl, and then threatening her mother.
Dennis Barnes, 61, was charged with one count of attempted predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under 13, and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, all felonies, according to Sally Daly, the spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The sergeant allegedly attempted to kiss and fondle the 9-year-old girl over the weekend, according to a police source. After the girl told her mother what happened, Barnes allegedly threatened the woman, claiming he would harm himself and others, according to the police source.
A Chicago police spokeswoman said Barnes has been relieved of police powers and the case is under investigation.
Barnes, a 27-year CPD veteran currently assigned to the Wentworth District, attacked the girl while she sat on an L-shaped sectional couch covered in a blanket during a family barbecue at her South Chicago home over the weekend, Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Novy said.
The girl and her brother were watching a movie in the front room during the barbecue Saturday when Barnes joined them and got under the blanket with the girl, concealing his hands, Novy said.
The officer massaged the girl’s feet three times even though she tried to move away, Novy said.
Barnes then tried to sexually assault the girl as she attempted to stop him, officials said.
That’s when the girl’s brother, sitting on the opposite end of the sofa, noticed the activity under the blanket and went to get his mother, Novy said.
When the boy left, Barnes grabbed the girl’s face and asked her to give him a “smooch,” authorities said.
She refused. Still, he stuck out his tongue and pressed it against the girl’s face twice, Novy said.
Barnes, a grandfather of 10, also allegedly asked the girl to sit on his lap and give him a hug. When she refused, Barnes grabbed her waist and tried to get the girl on his lap but was unsuccessful, Novy said.
The girl cried out to her mom when the woman and her son came into the front room and found the pair under the blanket, Novy said.
Barnes' defense attorney, Michael Clancy, called the charges ridiculous and said his client did nothing wrong.
“It just didn’t happen,” Clancy told reporters. “He did not have any kind of inappropriate relationship, or touching or anything with these children. … He didn’t do anything that he’s alleged to have done.”
Although he didn’t give any details, Clancy said the nature of the relationship between Barnes and the girl’s mother -- also a Wentworth District employee -- would shed light on why the allegations were made.