Single mother devastated that family friend allegedly molested her daughter
WTMJ News Team
Michele Fiore reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
CUDAHY- A mother is expressing anguish, after a retired firefighter has been accused of fondling her 12-year-old daughter.
Robert Shimeta of Cudahy is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child.
The victim's mother is protective -- so TODAY'S TMJ4 is concealing her identity to keep her daughter anonymous. She is telling her story to help prevent another single parent from being so blinded by love -- that they don't see the signs of abuse.
Six years ago the victim's mother met the man now accused of molesting her daughter. "And he helped us out a lot, very involved in their life, homework, discipline," said the mother.
She says they would spend time at his St. Francis home.
One night, mom fell asleep.
That's when prosecutors say Robert Shimeta put his hand up the girl's shirt -- and fondled her. The preteen did not tell her mother what happened. But the mom watched her daughter's mood change.
"She didn't want to go by his house anymore, which was a huge thing. She always wanted to see him, always wanted to be with him," said the victim's mother.
Her daughter held that secret in for three months.
The man she trusted -- now charged with a crime -- held it in as well.
"I can't believe it either. I just wish he would have come to me the next day or a couple days later and said look, 'I really messed up. I did something wrong.'"
Experts said victims in these cases are afraid to share their secret, so they recommend that parents should watch for warning signs. Those signs include a change in mood, or a change in sleeping patterns.
If that happens, parents should ask their kids what's on their minds.