Montana McDonald's Employee Arrested for Groping Boy, 7, in Restaurant Bathroom

Jesse F Huntsman
Jesse F. Huntsman who allegedly groped a 7-year-old boy. Missoula County Sheriff's Department

A McDonald's employee has been charged with sexual assault after he allegedly following a 7 year old boy into a restroom and touching him inappropriately.

Police in Missoula, Montana, detained Jesse F. Huntsman, 20, and found he was carrying an image he'd drawn of a child with his pants down, ABC Fox Montana reported citing police documents.

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The incident reportedly unfolded on December 15 at the McDonald's on North Reserve, Missoula, where the boy's mother had taken him.

As they ate their meal, the mother noticed Huntsman appeared to be watching them.

The 7 year old boy later left the dining table to go the bathroom. Apparently noticing the boy was heading into the facility alone, Huntsman is said to have followed the child into the restroom.

As the child relieved himself at the urinal, the McDonald's employee allegedly touched the boy's backside.

The child's mother contacted the police after her son left the bathroom and alerted her that he had been groped.

In a police interview, Huntsman denied groping the child, ABC Fox Montana reported citing court documents. However, he admitted to an officer that he had "dark thoughts" about young boys that were sexual in nature.

Police arrested Huntsman on one charge of sexual assault.

The Missoula Police Department and McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The incident comes as Missoula, population 70,000, attempts to shake its reputation as the so-called "rape capital of America".

Several high-profile incidents of sexual assault allegedly carried out by members of the Missoula Grizzly football team shone a harsh spotlight on the city in 2011.

Between January 2008 and May 2012, the police department was notified of more than 350 reports of sexual assault. Of this total, 114 were sent to the Missoula County attorney. And charges were filed in 14 cases.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded in a 20-page report there was a "disturbing pattern" of how sexual assault cases were handled by Missoula County Attorney's Office at the time.

One case cited involved a 5-year-old girl who had been assault by a teenage boy. Her mother said prosecutors told her "boys will be boys."

By 2015, the city's apparent sexual assault problem became the focus of the book Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by journalist and Into the Wild author Jon Krakauer.

That year, the Deparment of Jusice and the U.S. Attorney for Montana praised the Missoula Police Department for rolling out reforms in how it responded to sexual assaults.

Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, said at the time: "In short, this community has come together to institute long-term, systemic change to protect and ensure the safety of generations to come, and we are here to acknowledge that and to celebrate that."