KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - 74-year-old Willard Putman had a difficult time hearing the new sexual assault charges read against him in a Kalamazoo Court on the morning of Sept. 22.
"Mr. Putman, can you hear me now?" asked the judge after ordering the courtroom podium closer to the bench.
"I can hear you a little better, ma'am," responded Putman.
Police call the frail-looking 74-year-old man in an orange county jail jumpsuit a sexual predator.
Putman is now charged in two counties with the sexual assaults of two pre-teen girls. The latest charges are out of Kalamazoo County.
Putman was bound over to stand trial in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court on Oct. 19. No trial date has been set.
Investigators says Putman took the two alleged victims, 10 and 11 years old, camping at a campground near Kalamazoo on Aug. 23.
There, police say he raped one of the girls, a relative he was accused of sexually assaulting in a separate case last week at his home near Battle Creek, and molested the second girl, a friend of the first victim.
Bond for the Kalamazoo County charges has been set at $500,000.
"The acts themselves are obviously quite unconscionable when you're talking about kids of this age. And we believe there's likely other victims out there," said Michigan State Police Lieutenant Chuck Christensen.
Investigators say no other victims have stepped forward.
But experts will say that 74-year-old men don't suddenly become child molesters. Lieutenant Christensen fears they'll find a list of victims going back not just years, but generations.
"Our intent is to get the word out. And for those who have come in contact with the suspect, talk to your kids or talk to your family members to see if this has happened to anybody else," said Christensen.
If you are a victim, or know of one, you are asked to call Michigan State Police during regular business hours in Paw Paw at 269.968.6115, or after-hours at 517.241.8000.
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