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State police say man entered tent, groped teen at Griswold campground

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State police said they charged a New London man Tuesday with entering a tent at the Hopeville Pond State Park campsite in July and groping a 16-year-old girl.

Paulo D. Walters, 36, of 15 Steward St., also is accused of following a 13-year-old on her bicycle, grabbing her hand and attempting to entice her to go to his campsite.

Walters turned himself in Tuesday knowing state police had a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with risk of injury to a child, first-degree criminal trespass, second-degree breach of peace and first-degree stalking.

He was arraigned in Superior Court in Norwich and released on a $150,000 bond.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit written by Trooper Zachary Cash, state police were dispatched to the campsite at 1:29 a.m. on July 1.

The 16-year-old girl, who was camping with her grandmother and other family members, said that while she was alone in her tent, a man entered her tent and began to lay on her and touch her leg. She said he stayed in her tent about five minutes, asking her name, while she buried her head in her pillow to prevent him from seeing her. He left the tent when he heard others approaching, and responded aggressively to a 77-year-old man who asked why he was in the girl's tent, the affidavit says.

The family provided a description of the man and his campsite and left the campground after the incident. They came back the next day to talk with police and identify the suspect.

In another earlier incident, a 13-year-old and a 24-year-old woman said they had seen the man a couple of hours prior to the tent incident, when he approached the 13-year-old girl while she walked with her bicycle and asked her to go back to his campsite. The girl said she got on her bike and headed toward the bathroom, and Walters asked if he could run behind her. As she was pedaling toward the campground bathroom, she said he grabbed her hand and continued to entice her back to his campground. She said she stayed in the bathroom for 90 minutes with the 24-year-old woman while he lingered outside.

She also reported hearing a man creeping around outside her tent so closely that she could hear him swallow.

Walters told police he had walked around the campground that night talking to people, but he couldn't identify who he had spoken to because he didn't have his glasses with him. State police said they found a pair of prescription glasses outside of the 16-year-old's tent and seized them as evidence.

Walters' next court date is Oct. 22.

k.florin@theday.com

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