RACINE — A Racine man accused of assaulting an 8-year-old neighbor girl in an alley near her home earlier this month does not have to move out or go to jail, a judge ruled Friday.
Robert S. Lambkin, 60, is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child in the alleged Feb. 12 incident while the girl was walking through an alley with her brother and other children near her Racine home.
During his initial appearance in court Feb. 13, Court Commissioner Robert Goepel set a $10,000 signature bond for Lambkin and ordered him confined to his home on house arrest. Only problem, the girl’s family says, is that Lambkin lives next door.
Racine County Circuit Judge Tim Boyle ruled during a bond modification hearing that Lambkin may remain on electronic monitoring on house arrest at his Flett Avenue home. However, he added conditions that all shades be drawn inside Lambkin’s home at all times, he cannot venture outside if the girl is outside, and Lambkin’s wife first must check outside to determine whether the girl is out on her own property before her physically disabled husband is allowed out of their house.
“One of the reasons he was released was on his medical issues,” Assistant District Attorney Randy Schneider said, noting Lambkin walks with a crutch, has heart problems and “choking issues which relate to a polio condition. The problem is, the homes share a fence line.”
Schneider sought changes to the bond terms because Lambkin lives next door to the child. He said since Lambkin’s release last week, the girl has suffered a panic attack from hearing Lambkin’s voice at his house while she was playing outside.
“Since that time, she’s afraid to go outside. Because of the mental distress, I think he has to move,” Schneider said. “This child is now on house arrest because she can’t go out and play. This is not working.”
But defense attorney Mark Nielsen argued the circumstances surrounding the case haven’t changed, and didn’t legally warrant altering the terms of Lambkin’s existing bond.
“I understand there has been some publicity on this, but that is not reason to change (Lambkin’s bond conditions),” Nielsen said during the hearing. “The current bond is working. The shades are pulled and he’s done nothing.”
Plus, Nielsen added, Lambkin is presumed innocent and has no prior criminal record.
The girl’s aunt, Cindy Street, 43, also of Racine, blasted the ruling after Friday’s hearing.
“He (Lambkin) admitted to it so I don’t understand where it’s all coming from,” she said.
She said her niece’s bedroom faces Lambkin’s home.
In making his ruling, Boyle said he legally has to balance Lambkin’s rights and “the reasonableness of the bond” with the girl’s emotional distress and base his decision on “the totality of all those circumstances.”
The girl’s father, Jim Street, decried the ruling after the hearing.
“Now I gotta take her to a park to play. Now I gotta take her to a family member’s house to play,” he said, adding that his daughter now won’t hug him or other male family members. “It’s like a bad dream I’m in (that) I can’t wake up from.”
Racine police responded at about 4:12 p.m. Feb. 12 and the child reportedly told an officer she was walking through the alley with her brother and some friends. She said that’s when Lambkin walked up to her, unzipped her coat, and touched her inappropriately on two private portions of her body, according to his criminal complaint.
In an interview later with a police, Lambkin allegedly admitted touching her, according to the complaint. He reportedly said she didn’t pull away, “so he didn’t think she noticed what was going on,” the complaint stated.
His preliminary hearing remains set for March 6.