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GRANDVIEW, Mo. — A 68-year-old Belton man neighbors describe as a “friendly church-goer” is now spending the night behind bars, charged with molesting two young children of a long-time friend.

John H. Stone is facing four counts of first-degree child molestation after a family living in Grandview reported to police that Stone had sexually assaulted their 10-year-old and 12-year-old in their own home over a period of four months late last year.

The probable cause statement says the victims’ father told police Stone was a family friend who spent time at their house. The father told detectives he started noticing Stone “getting too close to the children and acting strange.”

The court document says the child told his father Stone had “looked down the child’s shirt and pants,” and had kissed her breasts a few different times between August and December 2014, and had “touched the child’s genitals.”

The family told police after that, they cut all ties with Stone, and they saved multiple text messages from Stone to them in which he apologized and requested to be friends.

The probable cause statement shows Stone told the children’s parents that “there was nothing sexual about touching I ever did. I love (the children) as my own. I cry every day thinking about what you all think of me.”

Another text allegedly read, “Was just teasing. Didn’t look down (the child’s) pants. Just snapped them. Yes it was improper and I am so sorry. Just don’t want to be enemies.”

FOX 4 knocked on Stone’s front door on E. 185th Street in Belton Wednesday evening. An elderly woman – possibly his wife –answered the door, but when we identified ourselves as a news station inquiring about John Stone, the woman slammed the door in our face.

Several neighbors FOX 4 talked with said they just could not believe these allegations. One man who lives next door claimed to be longtime friends with Stone said there’s no way Stone could be capable of anything like this, adding his own children often go over to Stone’s house to play.

That same neighbor told FOX 4 Stone is, or has been in the past, very active in church and might even be a former or current pastor. FOX 4 could not independently confirm that detail Wednesday night; but according to the probable cause statement, deacons at Stone’s former church approached him about the molestation allegations a few months ago.

The victims were not home when FOX 4 stopped by Wednesday evening, but their neighbor told our reporter the family was at church for Wednesday night services.

Another neighbor who lives a few houses down from Stone and has a 12-year-old son said the allegations are disturbing.

“It’s terrifying, sickening, disgusting,” she said, “that we have someone living that close to us that’s doing stuff like that. I would’ve never imagined that out here.”

As of late Wednesday night, Stone was still behind bars in the Grandview jail.