SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) – An incident in a women’s bathroom in a Mid-Michigan movie theater has led to criminal charges against a male teenager, but the mom of the alleged victim is concerned he’s not facing more serious charges.
Investigators say the 18-year-old man went into the women’s bathroom and grabbed a 10-year-old girl, who was not hurt.
The teenager is facing an assault and battery charge, which is a misdemeanor. Investigators say the suspect has mental health challenges, but the mother of the young girl is now worried about the child’s mental health.
“I am scared for whichever child this could happen to next,” said Sylvia Scheddel.
Her children were at the Quality 10 Emagine Theater in Kochville Township on the night of Feb. 18.
The 10-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy were with their grandmother and needed a restroom break before the show. Their grandmother stayed in the lobby.
Investigators say a male teenager followed the young girl into the women’s bathroom. After washing her hands, the young girl noticed the man in the women’s bathroom.
“He went right behind her and grabbed her around the throat and used the other hand — he pulled the sleeve over his hand to muffle her screaming,” Scheddel said about what happened to her daughter.
She said her daughter was able to fight off the teen, who ran out of the bathroom. The girl told her grandma what happened and security and police were called.
Security cameras showed the teenager went back into a theater and he was questioned. Sheddel took photos of the teen being questioned.
He was released to his father, who was also at the theater.
Police say 18-year-old Andrew Jewell has been charged with assault and battery, a misdemeanor. Sheddel believes there should have been more serious charges.
“I think that our justice system is too lenient when it comes to our children and I think our children need to be protected first,” she said.
Saginaw County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Blair Stevenson said he understands why Sheddel would be upset, but the assault charge is the one he believes can be proven and charges could be enhanced if more information becomes available.
He said Jewell has mental health challenges. Sheddel is also worried about her daughter.
“It scared for her and she’s scared now. This could go on for how long,” Scheddel said.
Jewell was released on bond, required to get mental health treatment and is not allowed to go back to the theater.
Emagine Theaters released this statement about the incident:
“As soon as our team members were made aware of the disturbance in the women’s restroom, our security team took a description of the alleged offender and began searching the building while simultaneously calling police. Within minutes, the alleged offender was found and brought to the lobby to be interviewed by police. As it has always been, the safety and security of the guests and team members remains their highest priority.”