ANDERSON, Ind. — An Anderson man who immigrated from Vietnam has been arrested after he allegedly touched a child inappropriately while working at Lux Nails on Thursday.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, 30-year-old Thong Nguyen was arrested on a preliminary charge of child molestation of a child under the age of 14, a Level 4 felony. Officials said the Anderson Police Department were called to Lux Nails in Anderson on Thursday after a woman alleged that Nguyen touched her son inappropriately multiple times.
During an interview with law enforcement, the woman said that she was getting a pedicure by Nguyen. When he was finishing her pedicure, the woman said her son had positioned himself next to the chair in between his mother and Nguyen.
The woman stated that Nguyen then “tickled her son in the groin area” and she then pushed his hands away as he stopped. The documents said the son then told the man not to touch him there.
“(The woman) stated that (Nguyen) then touched her son a second time in the groin laughing as he did it,” the documents read. “She stated that she then called for the store manager to come over to them so that she could explain what had happened. She disputed the incident with the store manager for a moment until eventually calling 911 to report the incident.”
According to the affidavit, police then watched video surveillance of the reported incident. The documents said that the video showed Nguyen reportedly putting his hand, at waist level, towards the front of the boy’s body, the woman’s reaction and Nguyen making a second movement with his hand towards the boy’s groin area.
Nguyen spoke with police through a translator, according to the documents, explaining to police what happened.
“The translator stated that (Nguyen) was used to Vietnamese culture in which it is socially acceptable to touch children in a playful manner, including in the genital areas,” the affidavit read. “(police) asked (Nguyen) through the translator if he touched the child’s penis and the translator stated that (Nguyen) replied ‘Yes.’ (police) asked why he touched the child’s penis and the translator stated that he replied that he did so because the child was being cute and playful.”
According to the documents, Nguyen was transported to the Madison County Jail on a preliminary child molestation charge. Officials from the business made a statement on the reported incident on its Facebook page, stating that they had no clue he would “make such a bad decision as he did.”
“Since this incident, we have fired that employee and are deeply ashamed of his actions,” the post read. “At Lux Nails, we truly do wish for the best of our community and those around us. This statement is not an excuse for any of the ex-employee’s actions. We are reflecting on this nightmare of an incident in order to improve everyone’s experience in our nail salon. We deeply apologize to the family that was accepted and truly wish this never happened. Our sincerest apologies.”