Metro-East News

Man accused of kidnapping stepdaughter, 13, now faces sexual assault charges

Christopher M. Derleth
Christopher M. Derleth Provided

A Madison County man accused of kidnapping his 13-year-old stepdaughter and her infant son last fall now faces sexual assault charges in Bond County.

Christopher M. Derleth, 40, of Granite City, was charged Monday, April 10, in Bond County Circuit Court with three felonies — predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and perjury. A warrant was issued Wednesday, April 12. Derleth’s bond was set at $500,000. He remains in custody in Madison County, where he faces charges of kidnapping and child abduction.

“The filing of these charges represents the culmination of a thorough investigation which involved investigators from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the Bond County Sheriff’s Department and the Greenville, Illinois, Police Department,” said Bond County State’s Attorney Chris Bauer.

Katherine Derleth and her baby son, Christopher, were taken from a foster home in Carpenter, a tiny village north of Edwardsville and just west of Hamel in rural Madison County, on Sept. 17. Madison County soon charged Christopher Derleth, Katherine’s stepfather, with aggravated kidnapping and child abduction.

Derleth had been under a restraining order to keep away from Katherine and her baby at the time, amid the Bond County investigation into baby Christopher’s paternity. Katherine gave birth to the baby on Sept. 1, as Bond County officials were investigating her stepfather. The family had lived in Greenville and Pocahontas for a time.

Bauer would not comment on whether Christopher Derleth was the baby’s father.

The name of the victim in the sexual assault charges was redacted.

“The name of the victim has been withheld for the victim’s protection,” Bauer said. “It is important to remember that Mr. Derleth, like all criminal defendants, is presumed innocent of these allegations.”

Christopher Derleth, Katherine Derleth and the baby were located on Sept. 24 after a week-long national manhunt, at a remote campground in West Virginia. Katherine and baby Christopher were found to be in good condition and were returned to the metro-east.

Derleth waived his right to fight extradition back to Illinois and has been in custody at the Madison County Jail, pending trial, since Oct. 12, 2016.

The charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual assault in Bond County are both Class X felonies, with possible sentencing ranges of three years to life in prison, if convicted. The predatory assault charge alleges that between June 1 and Oct. 25 of 2015, Christopher Derleth had sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13. The aggravated criminal sexual assault charge alleges the same offense between Oct. 26, 2015 and Sept. 1, 2016, and in doing so, he caused bodily harm to the girl.

The perjury count, a Class 3 felony, alleges that on Feb.17, 2015, Christopher Derleth made a false statement in an affidavit to the court in an adoption case. He allegedly claimed he had never been been arrested and charged with criminal offenses, knowing he had been in Madison County, in 1994 and 1999 cases. Despite having a criminal background, Christopher Derleth was able to adopt his two stepdaughters, Katherine and Amber, last year in Bond County Circuit Court.

The charge of aggravated kidnapping in Madison County describes 4-foot-8, 95-pound Katherine as suffering from “severe or profound intellectual disability” and that the the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Christopher Derleth “knowingly and secretly confined” the baby. It’s a Class X felony that carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

The child abduction charge in Madison County states Christopher Derleth violated a Bond County court order forbidding him from “concealing or detaining” Katherine. That charge is a Class 4 felony with a maximum punishment of three years in prison.