By Neale Gulley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A Niagara County grand jury has added first-degree sex abuse to the list of charges against a Town of Tonawanda man arrested last month for kidnapping and abusing a five-year-old girl.
David J. Grover, 34, was arrested July 28 at the girl’s father’s house in the City of Tonawanda, hours after taking the child from a separate address in North Tonawanda where her mother lives. Prosecutors say he is a longtime acquaintance of both parents.
He was arrested and charged the same day with second-degree kidnapping with a sexual motivation and endangering the welfare of a child.
The arrest came just hours after the abduction, wherein Grover reportedly tricked the five-year-old’s mother into leaving her North Tonawanda home before taking the girl to a wooded area and subsequently the second address where the victim’s father resides separately.
“He expected it to be empty,” Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco told Niagara County Court Judge Sara Farkas Thursday during Grover’s arraignment.
Grover entered a plea of not guilty and was formally charged on Thursday with committing a sexually motivated felony, first-degree sex abuse and second-degree kidnapping.
Zucco said Grover was found at the father’s Tonawanda home, barricaded inside a bathroom where he reportedly had taken a shower.
He said that was after Grover took the girl to a “secluded” wooded area where the abuse allegedly took place, sometime during the roughly six hours the two were together, as the girl’s mother attempted to locate the pair rather than immediately calling police.
He said it’s not clear yet whether the actual abuse took place in Erie or Niagara County.
“During the period of time he has the child with him, he sexually abuses the child,” Zucco said.
Grover’s attorney, public defender Christopher Privateer, had asked for reasonable bail to be set for his client, after Zucco requested any such bail be a minimum of $1 million.
Farkas ordered that Grover continue to be held without bail at Niagara County Jail.
Dressed in an orange jump suit, Grover’s only words Thursday were twice answering “yes” when advised by Farkas of his right to a trial, now tentatively scheduled for January 2013 unless a plea agreement is struck with prosecutors.
At the start of the arraignment, Zucco offered insights into Grover’s criminal history, including two prior felony convictions, at least one of which was in Niagara County.
Sometime around 2004, Grover was sentenced to a year in jail on a burglary charge.
“It’s not your typical burglary,” Zucco said, adding that Grover, then 26, was found naked and masturbating in the home, with multiple young children present.
Soon after his release on the burglary charge in 2007, Grover was again arrested for abducting a 4-year-old North Tonawanda girl.
In that incident — in which no sexual misconduct could be established by prosecutors — Grover entered the girl’s home while she was being watched by her grandmother and coerced her into leaving with him in his car.Contact city editor Neale Gulley at 693-1000, ext. 4114