SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A 68-year-old man with a long history of child sex abuse arrests in several states has been charged in southwest Missouri as a "predatory sexual offender" and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of sexually abusing a young girl this summer.
Ronald Richard Reed was arrested Monday on a warrant for forgery. A day later, prosecutors charged him with first-degree child molestation and sexual misconduct involving a child less than 15 years, said assistant Greene County prosecutor Casey Clark.
Reed was being held Wednesday in lieu of $100,000 bond. The prosecutor's office said it didn't appear that he had obtained an attorney
Reed had been living under an assumed name at a farm in Strafford, across the road from a children's home that houses youth between the ages of 6 to 18 years old, The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://bit.ly/PZTJyx ). Strafford is about 14 miles northeast of Springfield.
A detective wrote in a probable cause statement that the children's home reported three incidents since December 2011, in which a peeping Tom was seen looking into windows on the property.
Reed's criminal history includes arrests and convictions for indecent exposure to minors and adults, sexual assault on a child, cruelty toward a child, rape, resisting arrest, attempted rape and possession of dangerous drugs. His convictions, dating back to 1968, were in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and Missouri, and there's still an outstanding warrant in Colorado for crimes against children, according to the probable cause statement.
He also has failed to register as a sex offender in Colorado, Iowa and Missouri, prosecutors said.
"Clearly we're concerned about someone who has this alleged history living under an assume name," said Stephanie Wan, senior assistant prosecuting attorney. "It's a concern that the farm was across the street from a children's home."
Clark said an investigator contacted Reed at the farm on July 9, in relation to an 8-year-old girl's claims that Reed groped her and exposed himself while giving her a riding lesson on a fake horse.
Reed, using the name Stanley E. Wills, agreed to go to the sheriff's office after work to discuss the accusation, but instead got on a bus and fled the area, prosecutors said.
Two weeks later, he was found in Charles City, Iowa, where he was working with a carnival. Investigators said he had shaved his head and beard and gave investigators a false name, but later was identified through fingerprints.
He also was in possession of "three pairs of little girl panties, one pair of little boy underwear, a female wig, black ski mask and more than $4,000 in U.S. currency," the probable cause statement said. Clark said Reed wasn't taken into custody at that time.
"This is definitely an unusual case," Wan said. "I've been doing this for five years. We don't come across something like this very often."
Greene County prosecutors charged Reed on July 19 with one count of forgery, but he wasn't arrested on that charge until Monday, Clark said.
His extensive criminal history led prosecutors to charge him as a serial offender, which carries an extended term of life in prison.