LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It is an alleged crime that has sickened and shocked a Louisville neighborhood. A man has been arrested after police say he sexually abused four young girls who lived nearby.
It happened in Buechel off of Breckinridge Lane. WAVE 3 is not releasing the street where the alleged abuse took place due to the nature of the crime.
It is the type of crime that baffles people like Steve Sanford, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years.
"There's a lot of kids on this block, a lot of kids on this street," said Sanford. "Parents move into this subdivision because they know their kids are going to be safe and it's a good and secure subdivision for them to grow up in. That's been rocked a little bit now."
On Monday, James Lanham, 52, was arrested and charged with rape, two counts of sodomy and four counts of sexual abuse.
"Children are so innocent," said Sanford. "Why, why pick on these kids. I don't understand that."
Police said all four girls were under 12 years old. This case was cracked open about a week ago after a 10-year-old girl alerted her parents.
According to the arrest citation she told police that she and Lanham exchanged oral sex and other sexual acts.
"That parent did get with the other parents as well as contact Louisville Metro Police and that was followed through with our Crimes Against Children," said Officer Carey Klain, Louisville Metro Police.
Neighbors described Lanham as a friendly man who always sat on his front porch. They said he lived alone ever since his parents passed away.
A father of one of the alleged victims said Lanham is someone they trusted and have known for years.
"I think everybody is going to shake their head and not hardly believe that Jimmy could have done something like this," said Sanford.
Police believe the abuse may have been going on for the last six months. "I mean it really is a complete shock to us," said Sanford. "When we heard about it we were like 'You've got to be kidding me. This can't be Jimmy' and so you think you know somebody and you realize you don't."
Other than a traffic violation Lanham has no criminal history. He is currently behind bars and being held on $50,000 full cash bond.
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