(WMC) – Police say a man who ran an home day care is under arrest and charged with sexually abusing a child.
Richard Dewayne Marsee, 45, is accused of fondling a child under the age of 16.
During the investigation, detectives say they uncovered that Marsee and his wife were running some type of day care service out of their home.
Southaven police say the crime took place on the same property as the home day care, but it's unclear if any of the children using the home day care's services were present at the time of the alleged incident.
Neighbors told WMC Action News 5 that they have seen parents dropping off several children at the house.
Investigators are trying to determine if the home was required to be licensed by the state of Mississippi to be a day care center.
The name of the facility has not been released.
A spokesperson for the Mississippi State Department of Health told WMC Action News 5 that if someone provides care for more than five unrelated children, it must be licensed by the state.
The spokesperson confirmed MSDH did not have a licensed center located at that address.
Southaven Police Chief Tom Long said there appeared to be no records on file with the city either.
At this point, Marsee is not accused of abusing any of the children that were in the center's care, but the investigation continues.
Long is encouraging any parents or members of the community to come forward if they have more information.
"In an adult world, children can be extremely intimidated if you don't know who to go to, who to trust, if you're being abused if someone is taking advantage of you, if it's an adult people you trust in your life," said Long.
Marsee is the only person charged in the case. An affidavit of complaint alleges that the abuse took place between 2012 and as recently as this summer.
Many people say Marsee was well thought of in the community, and they were surprised to hear of the allegation against him. Neighbors say he had at least one child of his own.
The children living in the home are in protective custody was the investigation continues.
A judge continued Marsee's hearing on Wednesday afternoon. Marsee was sent back to DeSoto County Detention Center without bond.
His attorneys were not available to comment by WMC Action News 5's on-air report at 5 p.m.
For a list of licensed centers in Mississippi click here: http://www.msdh.state.ms.us/msdhsite/_static/30,332,183,438.html
Here is a document from the Mississippi Department of Health that shows the requirements for obtaining a child care license: http://www.mdhs.ms.gov/media/16130/HOW-TO-GET-A-CHILD-CARE-LICENSE.pdf