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No bond for Porter County woman accused of molesting disabled relative, records show

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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, is being held without the option of bonding out of the Porter County jail, court records show.

The possibility of bond will taken up Friday morning when the accused, Kelli Kniola, 38, is scheduled to make an initial appearance on the charges in the courtroom of Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer, according to court records.

A defense attorney has not yet entered in the case to represent Kniola, records show.

Kniola, who was taken into custody 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.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

Kniola was caught by the purported victim on a video recording saying she abused her, "because I am a sexual deviant," according to a charging document.

"Did you do that because you were drunk," the girl asks Kniola on the recording, 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."

The girl, who is younger than 14, told police that Kniola provided her with alcohol and the stimulant prescription drug Adderall during a family gathering May 22 at a Hebron home, charges state.

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.

The incident happened at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in the 1600 block of Sibley Boulevard in Calumet City

Kniola took about five partially nude photographs of the girl and texted them to Kniola's boyfriend, who later reported it to police, charges say.

A younger child relative, who referred to Kniola as being a counselor, described Kniola as "acting really strange," and heard Kniola tell the alleged victim that "my boyfriend is going to love you," police said.

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.


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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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