Man blames his 'sleepwalking hands' for sexually abusing his 9-year-old granddaughter while she slept in bed with him

67-year-old Arthur James Kenney was charged with second-degree sexual abuse and was ordered to be held on a $50,000 bond.


                            Man blames his 'sleepwalking hands' for sexually abusing his 9-year-old granddaughter while she slept in bed with him

A 67-year-old man accused of sexually abusing his nine-year-old granddaughter by groping her while she was sleeping has claimed he had only done so because he "can't control where his hand goes while he's sleeping."

According to The Hawk Eye, Arthur James Kenney, a retired railroad worker, was arrested at his home at 11071, 118th Ave., Burlington, Iowa, on December 6 on second-degree sexual abuse charges that stemmed from the incident that occurred in late November.

Court documents state that on November 20, Kenney's granddaughter was sleeping on the same bed as him and his wife while staying at their home for the night. When the victim was sleeping, Kenney allegedly touched her genitals repeatedly.

Kenney faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of his charges (Source: Des Moines County Sheriff's Office)
Kenney faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of his charges (Source: Des Moines County Sheriff's Office)

The child reported the incident to her mother, who first went and confronted the grandfather before lodging a complaint with the Des Moines County Sheriff's Office. The court document reads, "(The mother) said she went over to Kenney’s house and confronted him about this. (She) stated that after she confronted him, Kenney told her that he can’t control where his hand goes while he’s sleeping."

An investigation confirmed that Kenney had sexually abused the victim, with the 9-year-old revealing during an interview at the Child Protection Center that her grandfather had touched her "pee-pee" over her clothes, over her underwear, and under her underwear.

She told investigators it happened while she was sleeping between "Grandpa AJ," as she called him, and her grandmother and that it made her feel "weird and uncomfortable."

She said she wanted him to stop but did not feel comfortable saying anything so she pretended to be asleep. She finally managed to escape after getting up to go to the bathroom around 20 minutes after Kenney started touching her and then going back to sleep in a different bed.

When law enforcement requested the 67-year-old for an interview, he reportedly informed them that he had contacted a lawyer, Richard Aldo Bartolomei, and had privately retained him to represent him. He said he had been advised not to speak about the accusations.

Kenney appeared before District Associate Court Judge Jennifer Slocum Bailey last Friday for his first hearing. His bond was set at $50,000 cash or surety and he was ordered to appear in court again on December 17 for his pretrial conference. He was also ordered to not have any further contact with his granddaughter.

The Hawk Eye reports that if Kenney is found guilty of his charges, which constitute a class B felony, he could face up to 25 years behind bars at a state prison.