Man kept trying to get children to touch him inappropriately, deputies say

Suspect accused of drinking up to 20 beers before interacting with children

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A man would drink up to 20 beers before letting neighborhood children into his Silver Springs mobile home, where he then would try to convince them to touch him inappropriately, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say the two male victims, ages 6 and 7, reported that Arthur Leo Proulx, 51, made sexual advances toward them multiple times between June and September.

The boys' mother said she allowed her sons to go to Proulx's residence in the Lindale Mobile Home Park to play, and while they were there, they would drink soda, play with toys and use his computer, according to the report. The boys suddenly stopped wanting to go to see Proulx, and when the mother asked why, they said he made sexual advances toward them, deputies said.

In interviews with authorities, the boys said Proulx would say things like, "Can I please touch your inappropriate spot?" and asked the boys if they would touch him inappropriately, to which they would always say no, according to the affidavit.

Deputies said Proulx admitted to drinking 18 to 20 beers before he would see the children so he couldn't remember what happened but implied the boys were likely telling the truth because he has "bad thoughts."

He also said he remembered one of the boys telling him his hand was too low while the boy was sitting on his lap, the report said.

Deputies said one of the victims told his mom the sexual advances happened every day.

Proulx was arrested Tuesday on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct.

"This is just a prime example of making sure you know who your kids are talking to, who they are involved with," said Lauren Lettelier, Marion County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. 

Neighbors told News 6 the allegations didn't surprise them.

"He had candy and sodas for them all the time, and to me, that was not natural," said neighbor Viola Pratt.

Deputies said it's possible there are more victims, so they're asking anyone with further information about the case to call Detective Daniel Pinder at 352-368-3508.

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