A LaPorte man police say sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl at a beach Wednesday afternoon is jailed on a $10,500 cash bond. Gary W. Cooper, 50, of La Porte, is charged with rape and child molestation. Both are Level 1 felonies under Indiana’s recently overhauled sentencing guidelines.
LaPorte Police responded to Stone Lake Beach around 12:30 Wednesday afternoon to investigate an attempted child abduction. Cooper approached the girl when she was alone on the hill near the beach house, according to a police department news release, which indicates she was sexually assaulted after being lured to follow him. Information from witnesses led police to Cooper’s home in the 3000 north block of 725 West in LaPorte. The victim’s family was at the beach when the incident happened. Police say they have no connection with Cooper.