10-year-old boy accused of molesting 12-year-old girl
CHARLOTTE COUNTY: A disturbing case of sexual assault is unraveling in Charlotte County. The female victim is 12 and the male suspect is just 10-years-old.
Ten-year old Austin Browning is charged with sexual assault under the age of 18.
Christopher Saunders has raised Austin since birth. Friday, he said he’s upset and uncomfortable – calling his son’s action intolerable.
“On one hand, you wish it could be a problem swept under the rug. On the other hand, you know it’s something that should be dealt with,” said Saunders. “He’s 10-years-old. He made mistakes. He’s going to pay from them. He’s going to learn from them.”
Austin was arrested Thursday by Charlotte County deputies for the lewd and lascivious molestation of a 12-year-old.
Reports state he raped the girl while she was sleeping and the victim told her mother.
According to the sheriff’s office report, evidence matched testimony the victim gave to forensic child interviewers.
Saunders says he takes some responsibility for his son’s actions, but said that now he will take responsibility to correct his son’s behavior.
“There’s no maybe to it. He’s going to be treated. By my last breath he will be treated. This is a sickness, an illness,” he said.
The victim told forensic interviewers three additional minors in the home admitted to the victim that Austin “does similar stuff to them all the time.”
The sheriff’s office continues to investigate and says more charges could be coming.
Saunders is confident his son’s behavior can be changed, and he’s asking for God to help.
“We’re going to make it through this and be a family again – a whole family. No family is perfect. No life is perfect,” said Saunders.