A 67-year-old Sumterville man has been denied bail after being accused of repeatedly raping a child since she was in the 4th grade.

The alleged assaults were discovered by a woman who went to check on her now 13-year-old cousin after hearing news of a school bus crash last Friday near Bushnell. She apparently found the man on top of the child in bed.

The man was charged with two counts of sexual battery on a child less than 12 years old and two counts on a child less than 18.

The woman apparently heard the news about a car crashing into a Sumter County school bus, engulfing both vehicles into flames, and rushed to a Sumterville home to check on her daughter to make sure she was not riding that bus.

After arriving at the home, she allegedly spotted the man with her cousin.

The woman told police the man threatened her not to tell because she still owed him money for living there for free. He allegedly refused to let the woman take the child.

Police claim the child told them the man had been forcing her to have sex since she was in the 4th grade despite her attempts to fight him.

These alleged sexual escapades apparently happened when they were left alone, about once every two weeks

According to police, the child said the man threatened to allow the Department of Children and Families to take her away if she said anything.

The man refused to comment on the accusations.

Sexual battery accusations are taken quite seriously by law enforcement officers and prosecutors alike. Sexual battery or rape charges should never be taken lightly as these crimes are attached to harsh criminal penalties. In fact, certain acts of sexual battery carry enhanced penalties if convicted. Sexual battery on a child younger than 12 when the accused is over the age of 18 is a capital felony punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If you find yourself accused of sexual battery, contact The Villages Sex Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. Make no mistake – sex crimes are emotionally driven and the punishments associated with them are quite extensive. Law enforcement officials, prosecutors and the public tend to take a negative stance against those accused of sexually motivated crimes, especially those involving a child. As trial attorneys, we make sure that we present a powerful defense on your behalf. An aggressive criminal defense may result in charges being reduced – or possibly dismissed entirely.

If you are under investigation or if you are facing charges for a sex crime in Lake, Sumter or Marion County, contact The Villages Sex Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-369-5334.