Johnson City man accused of fondling 5-year-old girl bound over to grand jury

Becky Campbell • Mar 27, 2012 at 5:08 PM

A 5-year-old girl allegedly fondled and raped by a neighbor called the man who touched her “Papa,” although the two were not related, according to testimony in a hearing Tuesday.

Larry C. Pace, 61, 139 Hideaway Hills Road, Apt. 36, Johnson City, was arrested last week on four counts of aggravated rape of a child and six counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Prior to Pace’s preliminary hearing in Washington County Sessions Court on Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney General Michael Rasnick told Judge Robert Lincoln the four rape charges would be dismissed.

“The state is going forward on the six counts of aggravated sexual battery. We are not prepared to go forward on the four counts of aggravated rape of a child,” Rasnick said.

After the hearing, Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Sam Phillips Jr. said the reason the rape charges were dismissed was to prevent the girl from having to testify at this point in the case.

After hearing Phillips testify in the case, Lincoln bound the sexual battery charges over to the grand jury. Phillips later said the aggravated rape of a child charges would be presented to a grand jury at the same time as the sexual battery charges.

Phillips’ testimony revealed graphic details of information from the man’s statement. He said Pace told him it started with him putting lotion on the girl’s body.

Pace also told investigators the girl would say, “Let’s go play Papa,” and lie down on his bed and pull her pants down so he could rub lotion on her.

“I hate to say this, but if I was a sexual pervert I could do this everyday. I only did it when I got the urge,” Pace told Phillips, according to the officer’s testimony.

Phillips said the girl’s mother was “totally” unaware of any sexual contact Pace had with her daughter until the investigation began.

According to the affidavit of complaint Phillips filed against Pace, the 5-year-old girl told investigators Pace raped her at least five times.

Pace remained jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos