WEST VALLEY CITY — Police say a West Valley man sexually abused at least seven girls three decades ago, and police fear there could be additional victims.
David Allen Williams, 70, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with two counts of object rape of a child, a first-degree felony, and 23 counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.
West Valley police arrested him at his house Wednesday on a $750,000 warrant.
The victims ranged in age from 4 to 12 at the time of the abuse, according to police. All are adults today. Some are related to Williams, others used to live in his neighborhood, police said, adding that the abuse happened between 1983 and 1997.
The investigation began in October when one of the women broke her silence and called police. Acting West Valley Deputy Police Chief Bill Merritt said he did not know what prompted the victim to contact police now, but is thankful that she did and he encouraged other potential victims to do the same thing.
"Sometimes people just don't feel like they can come forward. We want to say, 'We're willing to listen,'" he said.
After one victim talked to police, it became a domino effect and additional victims came forward, he said. Police could not say Wednesday why the alleged abuse stopped in 1997, or whether other victims were abused after 1997 that have yet to be identified. The abuse of the known victims occurred in Williams' previous West Valley neighborhood before he moved, according to police.
As of Wednesday, there was no evidence suggesting anyone in Williams' current West Valley neighborhood is a victim, said West Valley Police Lt. Kent Stokes.
Several girls told detectives that from 1983 to 1997, Williams would have them sit on his lap when they were in his house and inappropriately touch them, according to charging documents. One woman said Williams would groom her by telling her that she was his "special little buddy" and that they had a "special friendship."
Another victim recalled Williams telling her that he "wanted to do something special for her," before abusing her, the charges state.
In December, that woman told police that Williams' wife "told her that (Williams) admitted to her that he sexually abused six girls," according to charging documents. The charges do not indicate when Williams' wife allegedly became aware of this information.
As of Wednesday, police said they did not anticipate anyone else being charged in connection with the case.1 comment on this story
One girl told her mother about the abuse when it allegedly occurred, when the victim was in the third grade, according to charging documents. But the girls' parents "did not report the abuse to police at the time because they believed 'it's his word against hers and we have no proof.'"
According to charging documents, the statute of limitations for filing charges has not expired.
Investigators fear that "due to the nature of the crimes, it is possible that there may be others who were sexually abused." Anyone with additional information is asked to call police at 801-840-4000.