ROCHESTER, N.H. — Parents have been on edge for the last two days in Rochester, New Hampshire as police were searching for a man wanted for touching a young girl at a public park.
“I bring my 11-month-old here, so we walk around, we play ball and stuff like that,” said Bethany Whitten at the park Wednesday. “Because you have a couple benches, people watch you play, people say hi to your children, you try to trust them, unfortunately, he was one not to trust.”
Police said they were on the hunt for 76-year-old Paul Patsalis. They already had a warrant out for him for Possession of Child Sex Abuse Images. Then, on Monday, police learned he was seen at a park bench in Rochester Commons with a 5-year-old girl, rubbing or touching her back while holding her teddy bear.
“The child sex abuse case was still under investigation, however, it seemed he had increased his level of severity or reasons for concern for us to reach out to the public,” said Captain Todd Pinkham with Rochester, N.H. Police. “The minute he sat down next to that girl and touched her, we just knew we had to bring this guy into custody.”
Captain Pinkham said they’re thankful for the tip that led police to make this arrest late Wednesday afternoon after someone recognized the suspect’s photo and car.
“That’s good, that’s awesome,” Whitten said.
Parents in the area are now relieved to know this man is in custody, while police hope this serves as a reminder to alert them whenever anyone notices something may be wrong.
“So not allowing that stuff to happen, alerting us when it happens and making sure that type of behavior stops is what I recommend to anybody because you never know who that person could be or what their intentions are,” Captain Pinkham said.
Police said this suspect will likely be arraigned Thursday for Possession of Child Sex Abuse Images as well as Simple Assault for touching that girl at the park.
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