BENTON COUNTY, Mo. - Investigators in Benton County are concerned there could be more victims in connection with accusations a sheriff's deputy molested a child.
Michael Cash had worked as a deputy with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years, and was the sole deputy involved in school D.A.R.E. programs in three communities.
Cash was arrested Friday for charges that he repeatedly molested a young girl in his Cole Camp home.
The small community, with a population of just 1,121 people, was stunned by the arrest.
Deputy Cash is a life-long resident of Cole Camp and has been involved in dozens of community programs, working with children's sports teams and education initiatives. Cash is also a husband, father of 5, and foster parent.
His friends tell 41 Action News that the allegations are hard to believe. Monna Canida said she has known Mike Cash his entire life, and is in disbelief over the accusations.
"I'm very shocked. I feel like its a mistake. It's not right. That's not his personality and what he would do," she said.
Community members claimed you would be hard pressed to find a man as professional and polite as Cash. They also noted he was involved in several organizations to help kids in Benton County.
"And nobody questioned that because he was just a good guy that you'd think would be a good influence for children," Canida added.
Cash worked as the county's sole D.A.R.E. officer, visiting classrooms in Warsaw, Lincoln and Cole Camp. Warsaw superintendent James Haley said he never received any complaints about Cash.
"I was really shocked to find out the news," said Haley. "Virtually all the students in Benton County at some point if they were in middle school were involved in the D.A.R.E. program and involved with Deputy Cash."
According to court documents, Cash is charged with two counts of statutory sodomy and one count of molestation. The Benton County Sheriff believes there may be more victims, though he doesn't believe Cash came into contact with them through his work in schools.
Cash’s first court appearance is Tuesday.
Anyone with additional information is urged to call the Missouri Highway Patrol at 816-622-0800.
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