JEFFERSONVILLE — A $100,000 cash-only bond was set Wednesday for a Charlestown man accused of having sex with a child under 14 earlier this month.
Brandon P. Banet, 34, faces one level 1 felony charge for child molestation for the incident alleged to have occurred April 7 while babysitting the victim and other children. Banet was arrested April 9 after the victim told her mother what happened and it was reported to police.
According to court records, Banet waived his rights during an interview with Jeffersonville Police and admitted to having sex with the child.
On April 7, the mother and her fiance had gone to Indiana Downs between noon and 3 p.m., she said. Banet was left at home with the children.
Later that night, the fiance witnessed Banet kissing the victim. When he confronted him about it, Banet allegedly asked him not to tell the mother; he would tell her in the morning.
And he did, the mother said. But her daughter had already told her.
The victim was taken to the hospital to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner following the report. Police have also taken her phone, computer and parts of her carpet as evidence, her mother said.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said following the hearing that the case qualifies for abuse — a child of that age is not able to give consent to an adult for any sexual activity.
“This is a very serious offense,” he said. “The child was not able to give consent, legally. “Child molesting, even if the victim willingly went along with that, is a serious charge.
“These are very difficult cases to process, emotionally. The victims often have lifelong repercussions from the abuse.”
He said that it’s hard to detect who may be a child predator, but parents should exercise vigilance with who they leave their children with.
“Unfortunately, in a lot of these child molesting cases, is someone who has been trusted by a parent to babysit or be close to that child,” Mull said. “So I think it’s very important that parents have full confidence in individuals that they let babysit — get to know those individuals … check references, check background as much as possible.
“There’s no foolproof way to prevent these things from happening, but all of these steps that these parents could take would be warranted in protecting their children.”
Mull said he has no evidence at this time to suggest there are other potential victims or that it has happened more than once.
During the initial hearing, Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Andrew Adams also issued a no-contact order with the victim, and ordered Banet be placed on a 15-day hold for violating probation in a separate felony case. He was sentenced to two and a half years of probation March 29 for a level 6 felony charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Banet has a pretrial conference set for April 26 and a jury trial July 10.