Search for suspect in sexual assault of 11-year-old girl at Children's Museum

- Houston police are asking for the public's help in locating a suspect charged in the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl on October 16.

The suspect, Joseph Anderson, 40, is charged with two counts of Indecency with a Child in the 337th State District Court. Reportedly, Anderson, was a friend of the victim's mother.  On October 16, he was with the girl at the Children's Museum of Houston at 1500 Binz Street.  Once there, Anderson took her to the second floor where he sexually assaulted her. 

The child knew Anderson prior to them being at the museum together, as is the case in a majority of child sexual assault cases.  Two individuals witnessed the assault and immediately notified museum staff for help.  The victim was taken to a private room where she reported the sexual assault.

Museum authorities took immediate action once the incident was reported to them; however, Anderson had immediately fled before a search of the facility was completed.  Museum officials have cooperated fully with investigators from the moment the incident was reported.

Further investigation led to the positive identification of Anderson as the suspect in this case.  On Monday (December 5), two warrants were issued for his arrest. 

He now faces two counts of indecency with a child which is defined by the Texas penal code as either engaging in sexual contact with a child or exposure of one's private parts to a child under the age of 17. Authorities say the assault could have happened anywhere and are thankful the Museum has been cooperative.

Authorities tell us Anderson was with his girlfriend and five other children visiting the museum when the alleged assault occurred. They say they've interviewed each of the children, two his own.

At this time, he remains at large. Detectives say there is a chance “he's left the state given the fact that it's been two months and nobody has had contact with him but he does have ties here and out of state."

Anderson has lived in Texas for nine years and has been charged for other crimes.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined additional victims may have been sexually assaulted by Anderson at different locations.  Anyone who believes his/her child may have had inappropriate contact with Anderson is urged to contact the HPD Special Victims Division at 713-308-1140 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

The Children's Museum of Houston released the following statement on Tuesday:

We want to thank the Houston Police Department for their expertise and guidance.  The safety of our visitors at the Children’s Museum of Houston is always our top priority, and we are deeply saddened by this incident between the suspect and a child he brought to the Museum with his family.  We have been cooperating fully with the Houston Police Department and ask that the public provide whatever help they can to find this man and bring him to justice.  Please contact Houston Police at (713) 308-1140 if you have any information to help investigators.

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