Man charged with 144 counts of sexual battery

Man charged with 144 counts of sexual battery

A Fort Pierce man is facing more than 100 counts of sexual battery after two children said they were molested by him during a four-year span, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

The alleged victims said the man, whom they identified as 40-year-old Richard Pace, lived for a time at their home, according to an arrest affidavit.

Once he moved out Pace, who knew the victims' parents, was a weekend sitter for the children, the police report said.

The children first reported the allegations to a school resource deputy and said the events happened between 2009 and 2013.

"These brave young ladies overcame their fears and did the right thing," St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said in a statement. "Through the relationship they had developed with their School Resource Deputy, they told their story knowing it would be handled professionally and sensitively."

Deputies charged Pace with 144 counts of sexual battery on a victim under 12-years-old and they booked him into the St. Lucie County Jail. 

"Individuals like Pace are below scum and their actions permanently scar both victims and their families. If there are any other victims that have been abused by Pace, I urge them to contact our office and know they will be protected, respected and heard," the sheriff said.

 Pace is being held without bond.

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