GREENFIELD — A New Palestine man has been charged with multiple sex crimes involving four children.
Michael Spencer, 42, faces 24 charges from multiple incidents over the past 12 years. The charges range from sexual misconduct with a minor, to vicarious sexual gratification, to multiple Class A child molest felonies.
Hancock County Prosecutor Michael Griffin said the case is unprecedented here.
“I’m not aware in the history of this county that there have been so many alleged victims by one alleged perpetrator,” Griffin said.
Spencer was arrested Friday on an initial charge, but as the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department continued its investigation, more allegations were made by additional children. Prosecutors decided to file additional charges, and a probable cause affidavit was filed Monday, the same day Spencer had an initial hearing.
According to the affidavit, Spencer had sexual intercourse and/or fondled three girls, all of whom were under the age of 14 at the time of the sex acts. The crimes started as early as 2001 with the oldest victim; one victim said they continued until as recently as three weeks ago.
The fourth victim, a boy, said Spencer touched him inappropriately.
All of the crimes reportedly happened at Spencer’s home; he lived in Greenfield for a time before moving to New Palestine.
The sheriff’s department became aware of the incidents after one of the victims confided in a friend.
According to the affidavit, Spencer admitted to trading money and other items for sex with one of the victims starting in 2009.
Another victim told investigators Spencer threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the abuse, according to the document.
In total, Spencer was charged with 11 Class A felonies, six Class B felonies and seven Class C felonies. If convicted, a Class A felony can carry a sentence of 20 to 50 years; a Class B felony, six to 20 years; and a Class C felony, two to eight years.
Spencer was read his rights at an initial hearing Monday morning in Hancock Circuit Court. He entered a plea of not guilty. Spencer was also found to be indigent, so public defender Greg Brand was appointed to represent him.
Judge David Riggins from Shelby County has been asked to be a special judge in Spencer’s court proceedings.
Spencer is being held in the Hancock County Jail under a $75,000 cash bond. A jury trial is scheduled for Aug. 13.