JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A west central Indiana man has been arrested on felony child molestation charges, and the young victims are related to their alleged attacker, 59-year-old Ralph Hughett.
Clark County investigators are handling the case since that's where the alleged victims live.
"After interviewing both these juveniles, it was pretty obvious to us that they had been molested for years," said Jeffersonville Police Det. Charlie Thompson. "This started with them when they were extremely young - as young as six years old. It progressed for several years."
The oldest of the two victims first decided to report the touching and forced sex when she learned other children might suffer the same alleged abuse because Hughett was living in a home with other kids in Terre Haute.
"She was brave enough to come forward and tell her story and hopefully put an end to someone that has been doing this for decades," Thompson said.
Hughett was arrested in Terre Haute on Oct. 23. He is now charged with 11 felony child molesting charges. According to Thompson, if Hughett gets the maximum penalty under Indiana law, he could be sentenced to 300 years.
Thompson says the young girls are not Hughett's only victims. Another relative, now in her 30s, has also come forward with allegations of sexual abuse dating back decades.
"She wanted to assure me these allegations were true because he did the same thing to her when she was a child," Thompson said.
Thompson believes there may be other victims who have not yet shared their stories of abuse.
"This investigation is still ongoing," Thompson said. "We are not done with this investigation by a long shot. But right now, we've got him off the street, somewhere where he can't hurt other children."
Jeffersonville Police say they have also learned of a girl who was 13 when she was allegedly abused in Kentucky by Hughett, although they have not been able to find out who that victim is or where she might be now.
Hughett was scheduled for a court appearance in Clark County this week.