Man Gropes 4-Year-Old Girl in Water at Ashland State Park, Police Say

Police say Aderlande Soares was arrested on charges of indecent assault and battery on a child younger than 14

A Massachusetts man has been arrested after allegedly groping a young girl at a state park in Ashland Thursday.

It was supposed to be a festive outing on the Fourth of July at an Ashland beach, but the holiday ended with a dispute over what happened in the reservoir.

Aderlande Soares, 46, of Framingham, was taken into custody Thursday just after 4 p.m. at Ashland State Park, according to the Ashland Police Department.

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A 4-year-old girl had been swimming when Soares allegedly groped her in the water, police said. The girl fled onto land and told her mother who called police.

"The man came up to a 4-year-old girl who was in the water," said Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Laura Miller. "Told her it would be OK for her to kiss him."

The child says the man grabbed her in her chest area.

An adult witness told police she saw it happen, alleging that Soares was touching multiple children in the water.

"He got no closer than five feet to other children," said defense attorney Justin Wing, who added Soares was only warning the children to swim in the designated area and to be careful of the rocks.

Wing said the only kids Soares was touching were his two sons, whom he was playing with.

"He's adamant that nothing more than that happened," Wing said.

Enir Silvas, Soares' wife, said her husband was concerned for the 4-year-old girl because she was alone, and when police questioned him, he didn't understand what they were asking because he doesn't speak English well.

Soares is charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

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