SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — People say he’s a man of God, but the things he is charged with would make any parent sick.
Neighbors tell WREG Richard Marsee, who’s charged with child molestation and who was running a childcare service out of his home, is also a pastor at a Southern Baptist church in Southaven.
One woman, Rose Moore, said he even invited her to come worship with his family.
Now he’s behind bars, charged with child sexual abuse.
Moore said she thought her neighbor was a man of God. She said he invited her family to worship with him, and was friendly towards her young children.
“He would say, ‘Hey buddy,’ and run his fingers though their hair,” she said. “I didn’t think any thing of it. I just thought he was the nicest guy.”
Moore said she often saw Marsee with a lot of young kids.
Police believe he was running either a day care or babysitting service out of his home.
“Five or more unrelated children would constitute a daycare, and you would need a license,” Chief Tom Long said.
It’s a license he said Marsee does not have.
When WREG stopped by his home, we heard young children inside. Police said until they have determined how many kids are there daily, the family can legally continue their service.
Long said tips about Marsee are pouring in.
“We are getting calls. I’m not sure how many have been parents with children that have been in the home,” he said.
While he understands parents’ fears, Long said it’s crucial they call police instead of trying to question their own children.
“Parents a lot of times can create almost a disastrous effect for an investigation by sitting your child down and asking very leading questions,” he said.
Police say signs of a child being sexually abused can include behavioral or personality changes.
Regardless of how your child is acting, if they were around Marsee, Southaven police ask that you give them a call.