14-Year Old Accused of Assaulting 8-Year Old at Cherry Hill’s Sunset Cinema to Plead Not-Guilty

A 14-year-old boy who was arrested at Cherry Hill Park in late August after allegedly physically and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl plans to plead not guilty to charges of abduction, object sexual penetration and assault and battery when his trial starts next Tuesday, Dec. 9, according to his defense attorney Kaveh Noorishad.

“He’s intending on pleading not guilty and we have evidence that support his plea of not guilty,” Noorishad said. The boy was charged with two counts of abduction, one count of object sexual penetration and assault and battery.

The prosecutor in the case, which will be tried in Arlington County’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, is Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lisa Tingle. Tingle declined to comment on the case because it involves minors.

The alleged incident occurred during the City of Falls Church’s popular Sunset Cinema event where the Disney film “Frozen” was being screened. According to a police report, the 8-year old victim told police she was physically and sexually assaulted by the suspect on two occasions that evening. Police say the suspect ran away after the first incident was interrupted by an adult but soon returned and assaulted the girl again. The victim called out and adults nearby approached before the suspect ran off again.

Noorishad said that he and his client intend to use the facts of the case to prove his innocence. He said that the charges brought against the boy are “not correct.”

“I would imagine that if that did occur there would have been witnesses that saw it occur,” Noorishad said. “I haven’t spoken to anyone who actually saw it happen…Our position is that nothing happened.”

The boy was released on bond at a Sept. 23 hearing and, according to Noorishad, he’s been catching up on school work and continuing treatment for what his mother and his attorney describe as special needs conditions. He said that the boy’s mother, a single working mother, is trying to help her son get through “difficult times.”

“Our hope is that once Dec. 9 comes through and the trial is complete that it will be one of the first steps toward gathering where they were on that evening…at Cherry Hill Park,” Noorishad said.

According to the boy’s mother and Noorishad, there “at least 15 or 20” people showed up to court to support the boy at each of his court dates since he was arrested. “I think he’s a smart young man,” Noorishad said. “I think he has the love and support of his family and friends and he’s eager to continue to with school…he’s got good grades and is otherwise a good person.”

Noorishad said once the facts are presented at trial he thinks the charges will be dismissed. “Once the facts come to light, I think there’s a clear explanation as to what happened which will vindicate my client of the charges.”