A Brazilian national in Texas has been arrested after an incident where he allegedly “tickled” the private parts of a nine-year-old boy. The alleged incident occurred at a Hop N Happy playground in Austin, Texas.
The suspect has been identified as Neander William Silva, a Brazilian citizen who does not reside in the U.S. The man is reportedly visiting a cousin who lives in Hutto, a community northeast of Austin, Fox7 reported. The Brazilian national has been charged with Indecency with a Child by Sexual Conduct, a Third Degree Felony.
Over the Independence Day weekend, the alleged victim had come to the Hop N Happy playground with his father and two brothers. The children had been playing for a few hours when their father approached them in a foam pit where they had gathered.
The father noticed his child laying on the ground mostly covered by the foam. Lying next to him, in a similar position, was the suspect. The father told the boys it was time to leave and they got up.
Silva also got up at the same time.
As the family was leaving the facility, the 9-year-old boy told his father he had fun playing with Silva. He said Silva had “tickled” him and gestured towards his groin. The little boy’s father then asked him to describe what had happened. He said that Silva had “tickled his penis,” the Austin Fox affiliate reported.
The contact allegedly went on for two or three minutes, the boy told his father. He described the contact as being directly on his penis but outside of his clothing.
The father reportedly ask the boy to show him what he meant and the boy gestured a “massaging” motion on his penis over his shorts.
Police were called to the scene. Following an investigation, the man, who was still at the scene, was arrested and booked into jail where he remains on a $75,000 bond.
Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have placed an immigration detainer on the suspect so that they can take custody of the man if he is released from jail, KEYE CBS in Austin reported.
Austin police told the local CBS affiliate that Silva is a Brazilian citizen who primarily speaks Portuguese. His English is not very good, they explained. Detectives said they spoke with Silva’s cousin, Leonardo Silva, who confirmed he is staying them and has no clear timeline for returning to Brazil.
Silva’s defense attorney told the Fox7 reporters, “He is wrongfully accused, he’s not a predator, he was there with other family and their children, he is not just some guy hanging out at this establishment.”
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office told KEYE they have no proof that Silva has the proper documentation to be in the U.S. legally. The man was forced to surrender his passport.
Chief Deputy Mick Gleason told the CBS affiliate they will be making a notification to the Brazilian embassy. Regardless of Silva’s immigration status, Gleason said they plan on prosecuting the man fully. “We’re not going to drop our charges to give him to the feds, when we’re done with him, they can have him,” the chief deputy said.