A Unity Township man set for a plea hearing today on charges he and his wife locked a 9-year-old boy inside a closet on several occasions in 2020 was arrested recently by state police and accused of raping a young girl in 2019.
Shawn Loury Walk, 33, was arraigned Jan. 11 on charges of rape of a child, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old.
Magisterial District Judge Michael Mahady ordered Waulk held in Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bond.
Waulk and his wife, Tammy Jo Waulk, 34, had been free on $25,000 unsecured bond in connection with the 2020 case in which they were each charged with endangering the welfare of a child, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment.
Those charges against the Waulks stemmed from a phone tip alleging the couple had barricaded the boy inside a closet, locking it and nailing it shut so they could attend a relative’s birthday party, state police said.
Police learned of the new allegations in March while investigating that case, according to court documents.
Tpr. David Wineland wrote in an affidavit of probable cause that during that investigation, a girl younger than 6 told investigators that Shawn Waulk had recently assaulted her.
After the girl told police about the alleged incident, two unnamed witnesses said the girl had told them Shaun Waulk “hurt her” while bathing her in 2019.
Dr. Kevin Rua, a forensic interviewer for A Child’s Place, interviewed the girl before the new charges were filed, according to court documents.
Police were called in to investigate the initial report about the boy being locked inside a closet at the Waulks’ home after Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau alerted state police to a phone tip received Feb. 23, Tpr. Evan Terek reported in court documents.
The boy told investigators the Feb. 23 incident was not the first time he had been locked inside the closet. According to court documents, it was the third time he had been locked inside the closet that month.
The boy told investigators he had broken through the closet door during a prior incident, “but got into trouble,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Terek wrote that the Waulks used “nails, screws, wood and a light cord string in an attempt to secure the door,” of the closet and left the boy “unsupervised and trapped,” during the incidents.
The Waulks admitted to the incident, Terek said. Tammy Jo Waulk told troopers the couple attended the party for approximately 90 minutes.
Terek also related that Shawn Waulk acknowledged that the child would not have been able to escape if there was an emergency.
The Waulks are scheduled to appear before Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Timothy Krieger for plea hearings in that case today, Jan. 21, according to online court records.