- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 7, 2007

STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. (AP) — Al McDaniel waited nervously inside the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department as detectives interviewed his 6-year-old grandson.

Like the parents of other children interviewed by sheriff’s deputies Thursday, Mr. McDaniel was worried his grandson may have been molested by a man whose wife ran an in-home day care center.

William Huck Sr. was arrested March 25 on child-sex charges and has since told authorities he molested 40 children over a 30-year period, according to sworn testimony from investigators in a probable-cause statement.

Mr. Huck is charged with 13 counts of first-degree child molestation and four counts of statutory sodomy and is in jail. The charges pertain to the abuse of a 4-year-old boy and his 10-year-old sister. Authorities say more charges, perhaps many more, are likely.

Mr. Huck, as of yesterday, did not yet have an attorney. Calls to his home were not returned, and no one answered the door. Mr. Huck’s arraignment date had not been set.

According to the probable-cause statement, Mr. Huck admitted molesting children over three decades. Police believe Mr. Huck’s wife was unaware of any abuse.

Mr. Huck, 60, molested the children when his wife wasn’t around, according to the statement. The most recent abuse occurred while she was at a doctor’s appointment, the statement said.

The day-care business was not licensed by the state because the couple watched fewer than five children at any given time. State officials said licensing is required only for centers with five or more children.

“I just can’t see someone abusing kids like that,” Mr. McDaniel said. “You want to twist his head off. There’s a whole flock of folks who probably have the same attitude about it.”

Mr. Huck is a retired railroad worker with no criminal record. Authorities said they knew of no accusations against him of any sort, much less something as serious as sexually abusing children.

That changed March 24, when a couple told police their 4-year-old son had casually mentioned that Mr. Huck made him do things. The boy gave a detailed account to sheriff’s deputies, according to the statement.

In an interview with deputies, Mr. Huck confessed to abusing the boy 12 times over the past year, and to abusing the boy’s sister, now 10, when she attended the center, the statement said.

“You don’t think about this happening in a small town,” said Sue Bach, a resident of this community of 4,500 located 50 miles south of St. Louis. “I think it’s going to make a lot of people really wonder.”

Investigators said Mr. Huck used fear to manipulate at least one child and keep the abuse secret. The arrest report said Mr. Huck told the 4-year-old boy that “police would come and get him” if the boy broke their secret.

Mr. McDaniel said his grandson stayed with the Hucks for about three weeks. His daughter stopped taking him there when the child began crying and resisting each time he had to go, Mr. McDaniel said.

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