Man faces child molestation charges in Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ind. (Nov. 11, 2015)-- A 38-year-old man is facing two felony counts of child molesting and an additional charge, in a deeply disturbing case now coming to light.

He’s accused of molesting a young relative over a period of years.

The female victim told authorities she’d been raped and sexually harassed for almost her whole life, with the alleged crimes occurring in Elwood and Alexandria.

Madison County authorities picked up 38-year-old Michael French on Monday night. Court papers provided by the Anderson Herald Bulletin detail graphic accusations of sex acts performed on a young female relative for years.

In a probable cause affidavit prepared by Elwood Police, the young woman told authorities French inappropriately often touched her at a mobile home park in Alexandria when she was young, between the ages of six and ten.

She told detectives the alleged abuse continued through the years at homes in Alexandria and Elwood and later turned to sexual intercourse in her high school years in 2011.

The victim told investigators that one time French held his hand over her mouth during an act, so that she couldn’t scream.

The charges surfaced after another disturbing case in New Castle that CBS4 told you about on Tuesday, where Jeffrey Wilson is accused of forcing his girlfriend’s 9-year-old daughter to perform sex acts on him.

“It is almost always somebody the child knows,” said Sandy Runkle, with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Runkle said nine out of ten times, an abuser is not an unfamiliar face, and sometimes evidence of abuse is not obvious.

“It is rarely a stranger,” she said, “Things happen. Things happen. Again, there are not always signs, or the signs may be very subtle.”

Runkle advises that those around children be aware of warning signs, like sudden changes in mood or behavior.

At last check, French remained in the Madison County Detention Center on $35,000 bond.

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