An Anderson woman and her boyfriend have been arrested on suspicion of incest and molest committed as they each claimed they were trying to ascertain whether she really had been molested.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed Jan. 6 by Detective Adam Zosso of the Westfield Police Department, Alison R. Thomas, 34, of Anderson, faces preliminary charges of child molest, domestic battery, incest and neglect of a dependent. She was booked Friday into the Madison County Jail but has been released on $10,000 bond.
Her boyfriend, Brandon R. Manworren, 28, of Westfield, was charged with child molest, according to a separate affidavit prepared by Zosso.
Thomas denied the allegation, according to her affidavit. Manworren denied the allegation when confronted by Thomas, according to his affidavit, but he did not provide a statement to investigators.
The Indiana Department of Child Services received a report from a counselor at an unnamed school that a student reported the offense after participating in a body safety course, according to the affidavits. The Herald Bulletin does not identify victims of sex crimes.
According to the student's report, in the summer of 2020 when the child was 8 years old, she was with Thomas at a home in the 6000 block of Delaware Street where the child first was touched inappropriately by Manworren.
The child told investigators she had fallen asleep under a blanket on Manworren's lap while they were alone downstairs, according to the affidavit. When the child woke up, Manworren was touching her inappropriately.
A short while later, after following the child to her room, Manworren again tried to molest her, saying "Nobody needs to know" and "I may just hurt you," the affidavit against Manworren said.
"Victim #1 said she almost screamed, but Manworren covered her mouth and she pushed him away where Manworren then said to her, "Let me explain why I did this," according to Manworren's affidavit. He claimed he was checking to see whether the child was telling the truth about not having been sexually abused by a prior boyfriend of Thomas who had been rumored to have abused his adopted son.
The next morning, the child told a teen about the incident, Manworren's affidavit said. The teen suggested she tell Thomas the next time she and Manworren argued.
About a month later, the couple argued, and the child told Thomas about the incident with Manworren.
"Victim #1 stated Thomas' boyfriend denied touching her and Thomas believed her but didn't 'believe her believe her'" Thomas' affidavit said. "Victim #1 stated she said she wanted her mother to sue the boyfriend for sexual assault, but Thomas didn't want to because he was the 'love of her life.'"
The child told investigators when she tried to talk to Thomas about the abuse, she was molested by Thomas "A bunch of times" in an effort to determine whether the child understood the claim she made against the boyfriend, she told investigators in a forensic interview.
Another family member who witnessed the incident was able to stop Thomas by pointing out the irony of her own actions, Thomas' affidavit said.