Police say a 94-year-old man inappropriately touched at least three children at a local trailer park and believe there could be more victims.
On June 3, detectives from the Payson Police Department arrested the man on charges of public sexual indecency, aggravated assault, and child molestation after a three-week investigation.
It is the Roundup’s policy not to name victims or suspects in sex crimes. Suspects will only be identified after a conviction.
The unusual case started in April when police received a call from the mother of one of the victims who told police she had found the man in her garage using a vacuum cleaner on the front of his pants, said Police Det. Michael Varga.
Shortly after the woman found the man, her 12-year-old daughter confessed that he had inappropriately touched her somewhere outside in the trailer park, Varga said.
When police questioned other children in the park, they learned the man had groomed several victims by buying them gifts and building trust before reportedly abusing them, Varga said.
Varga interviewed six children at the trailer park and determined three were victims ranging in age from 8 to 17.
“I have canvassed the trailer park, but we are trying to find out if anyone else had contact with him,” Varga said. “If they did, come talk to me.”
Most of the abuse reportedly happened outside in the trailer park from October through December of 2009. Varga said the man would become friends with the children, gain their trust and then touch them.
The abuse happened “mostly one time,” Varga said. “They were then scared off.”
None of the children reported the abuse, although Varga said the man was widely regarded in the park as “weird and creepy.”
“I think we caught it before anything really bad happened,” Varga said.
When Varga interviewed the man, he denied ever knowing any of the children.
For the protection of the alleged victims, the police department is not disclosing their names or locations of their residences.
However, the Payson Police Department asks for the assistance of the public in identifying any other victims that may have encountered the suspect.
If anyone has information or believes their child had contact with the man, you are asked to contact Varga at (928) 474- 5177 ext. 271.