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'I am a sexual deviant,' Porter County woman says in child molest case, according to police

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Kelli Kniola

Kelli Kniola

VALPARAISO — A South Haven woman, accused of molesting and taking pornographic images of an underage mentally disabled relative, was caught by the girl on a video recording saying she abused her, "because I am a sexual deviant," according to a newly filed charging document.

"Did you do that because you were drunk," the girl asks the accused, Kelli Kniola, 38, according to a court document.

"No, I'm just into that," Kniola responded, police said. "One, I'm into women, and two, I'm into broken women. Three, I'm into young women."

Kniola, who was taken into custody at the Porter County Jail on Monday afternoon, is charged with four counts of child molesting, two counts of child exploitation and one count of possession of child pornography, all felonies, a court document shows.

The girl, who is younger than 14, told police that Kniola began providing her with alcohol during a family gathering May 22 at a Hebron home, which the girl said made her tired, charges state.

Kniola announced at 10 p.m. she would be staying over at the girl's house and offered the girl the stimulant prescription drug Adderall if the girl would let her "do things to you," police said.

The girl said she took two of the Adderall pills and kept one, and said Kniola appeared "wasted," according to police.

Kniola is then accused of starting to rub the girl's leg and then progressing on to sexual acts, which the girl said shocked her, charges state. Kniola is further accused of using a sex toy she pulled from her purse.

Kniola took about five partially nude photographs of the girl and texted them to Kniola's boyfriend, police said. Kniola left the Hebron home about 2 a.m.

The girl said she used her electronic tablet to make three videos questioning Kniola after the assault, police said. In one, Kniola asks if the girl will cuddle with her while she takes a short nap before leaving.

A younger child relative, who described Kniola as being a counselor, told police she saw Kniola close the blinds in the lower room of the house where the abuse allegedly occurred. She described Kniola as "acting really strange" and heard Kniola tell the girl that her "boyfriend will like her" and "my boyfriend is going to love you," police said.

The younger child said she saw the girl and Kniola under a shared blanket, movement under the blanket and the girl's red face and felt something was wrong, according to a court document. Kniola reportedly kept telling the younger girl to leave the room.

Kniola's boyfriend contacted police to report the images he received from Kniola of the underage girl and said Kniola had purchased a new phone the day after the party, according to the charges. He reportedly said Kniola told him she gave the girl Adderall and performed a sex act on her.

In text messages to her boyfriend, Kniola said how "mature" the girl looked and how the girl was following her around the party "like a puppy" and being "flirty," police said. 

Police said they went to Kniola's home to conduct a search and found her with her husband and child. Police took a DNA sample from Kniola and she told them she changed phones because of a breakup with her boyfriend. She then said she no longer wanted to speak to police.

Kniola is scheduled to make an initial appearance Friday morning in the court of Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer.


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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