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DeSoto County man arrested for sexual battery, fondling of family member

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. -- A man has been arrested for two counts of sexual battery and three counts of fondling.

Richard Paul Henley, of Lake Cormorant, is behind bars in the DeSoto County Jail.

The victim was a family member, according to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.

Henley currently has no bond. He is set to be arraigned Wednesday.

Tuesday night the family of the victim told WREG they wanted to share their story and are adamant about getting their message out.

According to the victim's parents, the victim is the suspect's step-daughter.

Normally in these cases we do not identify family relations but we are making an exception at the family's request because they are determined to share their message with other parents.

"I wanted to kill him. I wanted to kill him and then say God forgive me. "

That was the reaction Timothy Dyson had when he said his 12-year-old daughter told him she had been sexually assaulted by her step-father, Richard Henley.

The family was there Tuesday when he was booked in the Desoto County Jail for sexual abuse of a child and captured him on video.

"We never dreamed we would be sitting here and I've made up my mind. We have nothing to be ashamed of," said Dyson.

That's why Dyson and his ex-wife Sherri Henley contacted WREG.

Sherri is the mother of the victim and the suspect's wife.

However she said she is filing for divorce this week.

"I hate it for all the family members that are casualties of this, but we refuse to be casualties because we're willing to save a life," she said.

Deputies have given few details about the arrest.

Sherri said Richard has been an authority figure in their lives for years.

She called her daughter brave and strong and asks anyone who has children who might have had contact with Richard to come forward.

"Please if you know me--call me. If your child came to visit, ask them," she said.

The parents said hopefully their family's hard story can be some kind of guiding light to others, but ultimately they ask parents to talk to their children.

"If you have any suspicion or inklings or suspect. Don't be afraid! Come forward! " said Dyson.