Girl's cat runs into neighbor's house, where she is raped after trying to retrieve it, police say

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (CBS12 NEWS) - A 9-year-old girl followed her loose cat into a Fort Pierce man's apartment Wednesday, where she was raped, police say.

Fort Pierce police were alerted Wednesday by Lawn Wood Medical Center's emergency room, where the girl's mother took her for treatment of injuries to her privates.

She told police that she was playing outside with a friend when the friend asked her to get her cat. She did, but the cat got loose and ran into an open door at 802 N. 23rd St. She followed and found a man later identified as Emanuel Dawson, 53, sitting on a couch, according to a Fort Pierce police report.

He told her the cat was in the apartment, so she retrieved the animal from a laundry room. When she tried to leave, she told police that Dawson blocked her path. She tried to leave several times, but Dawson repeatedly blocked her exit, according to the report.

The arrest report listed Emanuel as 5'6" and 270 pounds.

When police went to Dawson's home, his daughter Wanda answered and said he was upstairs. When police asked that he come down and speak to them, he jumped out of a second-floor window, attempting to escape, according to the report. He was taken into custody.

When interviewed, he denied having sexual contact with the victim. He told police he jumped out of the window because he thought "it was bad guys coming to get him," according to the report.

Dawson was jailed on a felony charge of sexual assault on a person under 12 years of age.

Dawson just got out of prison in December after a 7-year prison term on a conviction for burglary to an occupied dwelling in 2008, according to state prison records. He's been in and out of prison in Florida since 1980 -- nine prison terms -- on charges of second-degree murder, attempted robbery, escape, cocaine for sale or purchase, attempted extortion and constructive possession.

A broken and ashamed Wanda Dawson -- the suspect's adult daughter -- tells CBS12 the she let her father move in with her when he was released. She says her father's second-degree murder conviction was for the killing of her own mother in 1979.

Now Wanda Dawson worries that he may also have sexually attacked her own daughter.