GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- More potential victims have come forward one week after a former church deacon was charged with molesting two children, according to Grandview police.
Detectives interviewed more families Wednesday about similar interactions they claim their children had with 68-year-old John Stone, who helped lead children’s programs for decades at Grandview Baptist Church where he was a deacon.
Stone is now facing four first-degree counts of child molestation after prosecutors said he inappropriately touched and kissed two children of a close friend last year.
The victims’ mother talked for the first time exclusively with FOX 4 about the allegations and their impact on her family, in hopes her words give other victims the courage to come forward.
“You put so much trust in someone that you meet from church,” she said. “How could he do this – take advantage of two children?”
This mother said her family met Stone at church, where he was well-liked and respected by everyone. She said he soon became a grandfather figure to her 10-year-old and 12-year-old daughters, and he often spent afternoons and holidays with them.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said of the alleged molestation, “because he’s been a family friend for eight years.”
Their friendship came to an abrupt end when she noticed Stone seemed too close for comfort around her little girls.
“Just the way he was tickling her didn’t look right,” she said of one of her kids, “and after he left to go home, I asked her, ‘Has he ever touched you?’ And that’s when she told me.”
Prosecutors said Stone admitted to some of his inappropriate behavior during questioning from detectives and in a string of text messages, where he described his touching as “horseplay” rather than sexual.
“Just disgusted,” the mother said of Stone’s alleged denial. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Police told FOX 4 Stone might have other victims, as several other families have reported with similar claims in the past week.
“You’ve got to protect your kids because they rely on you to protect them,” the mom said.
Her family is now relying on their faith, and each other, to get through this tough time.
“We pray a lot,” she said. “My kids are everything to me. I love them so much. They’re my life.”
The pastor at Grandview Baptist said he has already talked with other church parents about these allegations and how to speak to their kids about them.
Grandview police are urging other potential victims and witnesses to call them at (816) 316-4900.