Police: 9-year-old girl assaulted by a homeless man in downtown Des Moines

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Carter Woodruff (WHO 13)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Police are continuing to investigate after they say a homeless man assaulted a nine-year-old girl in downtown Des Moines over the weekend.

Carter Woodruff, 34, is charged with assault causing bodily injury in connection with the Saturday incident. Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department says more charges could be added as the investigation progresses.

A criminal complaint in the case says the girl was attending a swimming event at the Downtown YMCA when the assault happened. The girl had stepped away from her grandmother briefly and was using a stairway connected to the skywalk when Woodruff grabbed her, Sgt. Parizek added.

The complaint says he grabbed the victim by the arm and then pulled her to the ground before kneeling over her. The child was screaming and kicking and Woodruff covered her mouth with his hand before leaving the scene.

Police say Woodruff was identified as the suspect in the assault using security camera footage and a photo the girl’s grandmother was able to take.

Woodruff is being held in the Polk County Jail.

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