Man charged with 858 counts of molestation - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Man charged with 858 counts of molestation

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Reporter: Chuck Weber

A local man is facing hundreds of charges for molesting a girl. Dennis Elliott went before a judge Wednesday afternoon facing 858 counts of lewd or lascivious molestation.

West Palm Beach police say Ellliott sexually abused a girl starting when she was just 9. The arrest report says the abuse continued five and a half years - the victim saying it happened at least three times a week. That's where 858 counts come from.

The arrest report says with the victim's consent, police recorded a phone call to Elliott. The report says the victim confronted Dennis with touching her.

The report says Dennis apologized multiple times and stated he did not mean to touch her and agreed to stop. Detectives say at no time did Elliott deny abusing the girl.

But in court, Elliott's lawyer, Mark Jones, tells the judge what's in the arrest report does not justify 858 counts, and he points out the phone call is "paraphrased" in the report.

Elliott's lawyer is making a case for bond. But Judge Paul Moyle brings up the phone call, the length of the alleged abuse, and the victim's age.

The judge orders Elliott held with no bond.

After the hearing, Elliott's lawyer and supporters decline comment on camera. But one relative tells me, "We'll just see what happens."

If convicted, Elliott potentially faces life in prison.

One of the neighbors in Elliott's gated development tells Fox 29 she has a hard time believing the charges and says Elliott and his family are highly regarded in the neighborhood.

You may be asking, are there ways to spot sexual abuse?

West Palm Beach psychiatrist Dr. Johnathan Greenfield says the signs are difficult to predict. "One should look to see if there are any behavioral changes - sleep disturbances. The most important thing is you need to believe your child. Rarely do children make up things like this that are not true."

Dr. Greenfield also says kids who've been sexually abused need treatment.

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