Neighbors speak out after Mid-Michigan man arrested on child por - WNEM TV 5

Neighbors speak out after Mid-Michigan man arrested on child porn charges

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MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

Details are beginning to emerge about a Mid-Michigan man facing felony child pornography charges.

Willard Wallace Jr., 56, of Midland is accused of producing child porn with kids between the ages of 2 and 7.

According to Midland police, Wallace was running a child porn ring out of his home. They said he was babysitting the neighbor children ages 2, 6 and 7 when he took pictures of their private parts.

Some neighbors who knew Wallace didn't see this coming.

"Absolutely not. I didn't think he was capable of this," Catherine Webb said.

Webb lives right across the street. She said Wallace was known as a grandfather type and was a good neighbor.

"Willard is pretty quiet, docile, very nice, you know would mow his lawn, very friendly," Webb said.

Webb's son Alex said he could tell something was not right.

"I wasn't shocked. I picked up on it a little bit," he said. "He just seemed way too friendly with the kids."

The alleged suspect lived right across the street with no prior record, but there are things parents can do to make sure this doesn't happen in their neighborhood.

"I handle almost all of our criminal sexual conduct cases in Midland. Unfortunately many times our victims are children," said Angelina Scarpelli, Midland County chief assistant prosecutor.

Scarpelli is the county prosecutor assigned to Wallace's case. She said there are common signs child sex offenders show.

"The big thing we see is perpetrators who do what we call grooming. They become very friendly with the children so that these children trust them, give them gifts, that type of thing," Scarpelli said.

It was these types of signs Alex Webb said he wish he'd taken more seriously.

"I really wish I would have said something to the parents. Something was a little off. I do wish I'd done something different," he said.

Wallace is due back in court in September and if convicted could spend up to 35 years behind bars.

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