2 men jailed in sexual-assault case involving young girls
Two Jackson County men are in jail facing charges after authorities said two young girls were victimized earlier this year.
According to criminal complaints in Jackson County Magistrate Court, charges against Dustin Hypes, 34, of Ripley, include two counts of first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse. The charge involved alleged misconduct with multiple girls between the ages of 3 and 14.
Robert Ellis Feltes, 36, of Ripley, is charged with criminal invasion of privacy charge, which is a misdemeanor.
Investigators say they recovered 3,841 images and video files that are pornographic in nature and that the majority of them show young girls. They said Feltes and Hypes were neighbors.
"They were fair game in the eyes of these predators, and when I say predators I truly mean that," Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger said. "These are the reasons kids have nightmares. These are the reasons why you develop stories of monsters living under the bed."
Both men were arrested on Wednesday by Jackson County sheriff's deputies. There were arraigned in magistrate court and remain in the South Central Regional Jail as of Thursday afternoon.
The criminal complaints indicate hat the alleged abuse happened in March and April of this year. The documents also show a history of abuse and inappropriate sexual acts that began as far back as five years ago.
"It truly is a community circus for sexual misconduct given the nature of where this happened is a very, very target rich environment," Mellinger said. "A lot of different apartment units here, and with the COVID mess going on right now, there are a lot of kids out of school and a lot of kids coming and going and a lot of opportunities for predators like this."
According to the criminal complaint, some of the content was captured from a camera that appeared to be filming a shower through a vent, Some of the images were of a young girl bathing.
"These girls are going to take a long time to heal, physically and emotionally, and some of them never do, unfortunately," Mellinger said. "That’s the scary nature of this is that just putting these guys in prison isn’t enough."
Investigators say more charges are possible and there there might be more victims who have not yet been identified.