Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis County Molesting Case Represents Rare Stranger-on-Child Crime

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis County Molesting Case Represents Rare Stranger-on-Child Crime

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS COUNTY * It was like a horror film improbably come to life when a child told her parents and police that a complete stranger apparently had followed her home and molested her at knifepoint in her bed.

But it was true, said officials who filed charges in the kind of crime that only about one time in 14 is committed by someone unknown to the victim.

If this case, in the Mehlville area of south St. Louis County, was unusual, the circumstances were frustratingly familiar to family of the accused, Larry Alverson, 40. He is a recent Illinois parolee with a criminal record that includes prison terms for crimes with a sexual component.

"My brother has some deep psychological issues that are beyond his control," Latecia Alverson, 41, of Columbus, Ohio, told the Post- Dispatch on Wednesday. "The legal system has failed in getting him the help he really needs."

Larry Alverson, of Belleville, was charged Tuesday in St. Louis County Circuit Court with molestation and burglary.

"He really needs to be hospitalized and treated for his issues rather than jailed and medicated as he has been in the past," his sister said.

But in Illinois, where most of Larry Alverson's past has played out, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly holds the opposite view. "Prison is, frankly, the best place for this person," the prosecutor said.

Kelly also acknowledged that "treatment options are limited" for prisoners with mental problems. But officials believe that Alverson, who has served prison time related to burglary and home invasion crimes dating back 17 years, is driven by dangerous compulsions.

In 1998, he was convicted of residential burglary after he entered homes in the 200 and 800 blocks of Jackson Street in Belleville "with intent to commit criminal sexual assault." He served 3 years in prison.

He was on parole when he was convicted of home invasion in 2002. In that case, he entered a 14-year-old girl's bedroom on North Fifth Street in Belleville and tried to molest her in a bunk bed. When she screamed, police said, Alverson began choking her and then fled when her mother's boyfriend rushed in. That conviction landed Alverson in prison for nine years.

The record raises the question of how he managed to be out of prison on parole in June after being sent to prison on a criminal trespassing charge filed in February.

Kelly said that without that record, Alverson probably would not have gone to prison on the trespassing conviction at all.

"That particular case was not sexual in nature; Alverson entered a home where he knew the residents and got into a confrontation with them in which he grabbed a woman by the arm," Kelly said. "It was a probational offense, but because we knew his criminal history, we got him a two-and-a-half year prison sentence."

Still, Alverson was released last month on the condition that he wear an ankle monitor that authorities could use to track his movements. But, officials said, he cut it off.

The attack early Saturday on a girl, 11, in Mehlville, left even some veteran officers shaken.

Alverson allegedly attacked her with her two brothers in the same room and her mother at home, forcing the girl into sex acts and threatening to kill the siblings if they interfered. …

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