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An area woman is being charged with a felony after police say she allegedly molested a young neighbor.

Tina Kern, 46, of Desloge, is charged with a class B felony of child molestation in the second degree.

According to court documents, on Feb. 28 a Desloge police officer was called to the 300 block of North Grant St. in reference to a neighbor inappropriately touching the caller’s son. When the officer arrived and spoke with the woman she told the officer her son said Kern, a former neighbor, had touched him inappropriately.

The 7-year-old boy said Kern touched his private parts through his clothing. The boy’s mother said that on Feb. 28 he was with his grandmother at the apartments and Kern had said hello to him and it was reported the boy froze in fear when she said his name.

The mother was told about what happened and later his aunt asked him if he was afraid of Kern. The boy told her yes and when asked why, he said Kern wanted him to pee in a cup and had touched his private area. The boy’s mother asked him what happened and he told the same story.

That was when the woman called the police to make a report. The officer told her she would need to contact the Children’s Services Hotline to be interviewed through the Children’s Advocacy Center.

On March 1 at 2 p.m. the officer was at the St. Francois County Children’s Division to meet a caseworker with the Division of Family Services to conduct an interview with the boy. The boy said Kern said "hi" to him and he knew he wasn’t supposed to talk to her. He said Kern followed him behind the building and wanted him to pee in a cup for her, which he told her no. She then grabbed him inappropriately while behind the apartments.

On March 9 the officer attended the forensic interview with the boy and his mother where he told the same story and also said she touched his butt under his clothes. He said she wanted him to pee in a cup and take a picture of him naked. Also in the interview he said Kern struck some neighbor kids. The officer plans to investigate the allegation further.

A warrant has been issued for Kern with a $25,000 bond.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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