DELTONA, Fla. – A Deltona baby sitter insisted Sunday night that her live-in boyfriend, Jose Villa, never sexually abused children in her care.
"They loved Jose. They even said we were the best baby sitters we ever had," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
Deputies do not believe she witnessed any abuse nor was aware of the allegations.
"I want people to know he did not molest those children," said the baby sitter.
Deputies arrested Villa, 49, Friday, but the allegations first started coming out last week when a mom came to pick her daughter up after leaving the 8-year-old here for the weekend.
The mother reportedly asked how the weekend went and her daughter told her that Villa touched her down the back of her pajamas. The girl said Villa often kissed her on the lips and made her feel uncomfortable with his tickling.
Deputies began to investigate and then found another victim, a 6-year-old girl who said Villa touched her chest and touched her sexually several times. Deputies said Villa warned the little girl not to tell her parents.
Villa admitted to kissing the girls and tickling them under their clothes and told deputies he believes he treats them like his own children.
"The kids, they'd always jump on him, want to play with him," said the baby sitter. "The kids would ask him, 'Would you give us a piggyback ride? Would you tickle us?'"
Neighbors whose own children play at that house can't believe the allegations.
"He always played with kids. I see him running and playing outside, but I would have never thought that," said Lillian Wright.
When asked if she thought any of that playfulness appeared inappropriate, she replied, "No."
Deputies fear there may be more victims and are asking for parents to talk to their kids and to call the Volusia County Sheriff's Sex Crime Unit if they think their kids have been abused. That number is 386- 323-3574.