Resident charged with molestation

Monday, June 2, 2003
Jack Pruitt

Man was baby-sitting 5-year-old child

SIKESTON - A 45-year-old Sikeston man remains behind bars after being charged with molesting a child.

According to Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden, Jack Pruitt of 809 Greer St. was charged by Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd with one count of class B felony child molestation and possession of child pornography.

Juden said the offense was reported to DPS on Thursday. A 5-year-old child was molested while spending the night with the suspect. He said the incident occurred at the suspect's home, who was acting as a friend of the family and offered to baby-sit. Following Pruitt's arrest, a search warrant was executed at his residence. Law officials discovered sexually explicit photos and other items that will be used to prosecute the suspect.

"These cases are extremely hard on everyone from the families of the victims to the officers and detectives, as well as the prosecutor and judges who work or have to hear about the investigation," Juden said. "Many of those connected to the case will undergo a large spectrum of emotions."

Juden said he urges parents to use good common sense when allowing their children to go with people. "Sexual predators are out there. They are usually looking for ways to get to children. Many will 'buddy up' to families or look for jobs where they can come into contact with children and take advantage of these opportunities.

"You like to think you live in a town where this does not happen," he said, "but in today's world, it is everywhere. The best defense against sexual predators is to be aware of the problem and know where your children are and who they are with at all times."

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are forthcoming. Pruitt is currently being held in the Scott County Jail. Bond is set at $55,000 cash.

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