Shelton, Conn. (WTNH) - A 63-year-old Shelton man has been charged with cruelty to animals and sexual assault after police say he was inappropriately touching a neighbor's horse.
The Flannery's horse farm is surrounded by a fence and closed off by a gate. But that wasn't enough to keep a neighbor from sneaking onto their property and doing the unthinkable.
Christine Flannery says her female horse, Indiana, was being sexually assaulted when her sister came home from work Monday night by what, at first, appeared to be a strange man.
"Touching and being really inappropriate to her private parts and hurting her," Christine told News 8's Ted Koppy. "And she was crying in pain trying to get away and she couldn't."
When Shelton police arrived they found 63-year-old Marian Wegiel inside the horse corral. He told the officers he was just trying to comfort the horses.
"His initial story to police was there was a loud noise and he looked outside and it appeared that the horses were scared," Lieutenant Robert Kozlowsky stated. "So he went over there to check on the horses. He later admitted to police that he may have inadvertently stuck his fingers inside the horse."
It turns out Wegiel lives directly across the street from the Flannery's horse farm.
"Complete shock because we've talked to them before. They seemed like a friendly couple," Christine continued. "We've had no problems with them."
Nobody at the Wegiel house was talking Tuesday. But neighbors did. One woman, who doesn't want to be named, says she's both disgusted and concerned; all the neighborhood kids catch the school bus just a few doors away.
"We always keep a close eye on them because the world is the way it is," she told News 8. "So it's just a little bit closer I guess. I don't know. I'm just really surprised."
Police are just as surprised.
"I've never seen anything like this, and I've talked to officers who have 30-plus years at the department, and they've never seen anything like this in this department before," Lt. Kozlowsky said.
As for the Flannery family, they want justice and peace of mind.
"I want him in jail, at least for a year, so we can feel safe for a year. We feel like we have to move now to get away from him. I just want him to be punished so this never happens again."
Only the female horse appeared to be touched, police said.
A veterinarian was called to examine the animals.
Wegiel is facing several charges, including trespassing, breach of peace, 4th degree sexual assault, and, of course, cruelty to animals.
He was freed after posting a $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in Derby superior court November 1st.
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