ELWOOD — A note, written by an 11-year-old girl to a classmate, sparked an investigation into child molestation and the arrest of an Elwood man.
In the note intercepted by a teacher, the girl asks the classmate if what happened on the weekends were somehow her fault along with, “PLEASE HELP,” written in all caps and “help me.”
Magistrate Jason Childers granted a 72-hour extension to the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office to file formal charges against Richard W. Griffin, 57, of Elwood. The extension expires on Tuesday.
Griffin was arrested on preliminary charges of child molest penetration by someone 21 or older, child solicitation, disseminating matter harmful to minors, vicarious sexual gratification and possession of child pornography.
His bond is $35,000 full cash.
Griffin said the girl has stayed with him and he “loved her very much,” according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Ben Gosnell of the Elwood Police Department.
He told Gosnell he deleted a naked photo of himself he had shown the girl and that he had taken pictures of her on multiple occasions while she sat on a couch without panties and exposed.
“However, he admitted that he no longer has that phone and it was destroyed,” Gosnell wrote.
Gosnell did find videos on Griffin’s phone of children Gosnell said were about five years old engaged in sexual acts.
Griffin said he “only watched them a little bit,” according to the affidavit.
During his interview, Griffin also said he had the girl touch him and perform sexual acts on at least three different occasions.
“On all accounts, Richard admitted while in the interview he knew it was wrong and had a sick feeling in his stomach afterwards,” Gosnell wrote.
Griffin said he told the girl “this was our little secret.”