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Ingleside man admits sexually assaulting 5-year-old girl
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff

Joseph Ray Dalton


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Published: 6/5/2008 3:48 PM | Updated: 6/5/2008 9:15 PM

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An Ingleside man faces a sentence of at least six years in prison after admitting Thursday he molested a 5-year-old girl.

Joseph Ray Dalton, 23, pleaded guilty to predatory sexual assault of a child at just his third court appearance in the case.

Dalton, of 35673 David Court, encountered the girl and her brother while he was walking near Rollins Road and Oakwood Avenue about 2:15 p.m. on April 18, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Mary Stanton said.

The children were playing in the family's driveway when Dalton made rude comments to them, then molested the girl.

Dalton fled through a wooded area as the children ran inside to tell their mother.

Lake County sheriff's police had a sketch artist do a drawing of the suspect based on the children's description, and a detective recognized it as Dalton.

He was arrested April 28 after giving detectives a videotaped confession to the crime.

Dalton pleaded guilty without a guaranteed sentence from prosecutors, and will be behind bars for six to 30 years after a July 25 hearing.

Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti also told Dalton he will be on parole for the rest of his life when he is released from prison.

Defense attorney Randie Bruno requested a substance abuse evaluation for Dalton prior to sentencing. She said her client was "drunk and high" when the attack occurred.

He is held on $350,000 bond.

Prior to Thursday's court session, Dalton had appeared in court for a bond hearing April 29 and arraignment May 29.

Stanton said child sex abuse cases can stretch out for months and require dozens of court sessions prior to a resolution.

She said she believed Dalton's action Thursday was prompted by the strength of the case against him, although Bruno declined to comment on her client's motivation.