BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating four separate complaints of inappropriate sexual abuse incidents in the Robertsdale area.
Authorities said while conducting interviews, information was obtained that the suspect in the alleged incident was identified as Thomas Tucker, 65.
Tucker owns and operates a horse boarding ranch and also conducts riding lessons for primarily juvenile females, authorities said.
"He would board the horses for the individuals and then they would come on weekends and spend the night there on weekends or during the summer. And he would give riding lessons and things of the nature on their horse,” said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack.
According to authorities, a search warrant was obtained for the residence and was executed on Saturday, September 6, 2013.
"We felt we had to go ahead and initiate an arrest because we had knowledge that there would be other girls there this weekend. We did not want to take that chance,” said Mack.
Numerous items, including a computer, photographs and business related documents were seized from Tucker’s home, and authorities believed there was enough evidence to make an arrest.
Tucker was arrested for five felony charges of sex abuse second-degree and one misdemeanor charge of second-degree sex abuse.
“I can't get into the elements of the case but I will tell you the allegations that have been made there is no plausible excuse,” said Mack.
Authorities said additional charges may be brought since only two of the four victims have been interviewed. The other victims will be interviewed as soon as arrangements can be made with their parents, authorities said.
Authorities said all of the victims are females between the ages of 12-15.
Friends of Tucker are sticking by him, calling the allegations "lies".
"Great guy. He's always got kids with him. He takes care of them, he does all the events where the Saint Jude’s ride and anything to help children,” said John Lawson.
Lawson said he's known Tucker for many years and trusts his own kids with the suspect.
"My children were raised with his kids. And they spent the night at his house and you wouldn't think of a safer place they could be,” said Lawson.
Another friend sent FOX10 news a statement. In part it read:
“Tommy lives a Godly life and shared it with others. Tommy is a teacher, all you have to do is watch him and learn. He is all about hard work and earning your keep. I, as an adult, admire the things he does for others,” said Tommy Ewing.
Mack said there is more to Tucker than what his friends may know.
"It's not uncommon to get the 'Jekyll and Hyde' type story with these individuals. That's what makes this job difficult,” said Mack.
Sheriff Mack did say the sex abuse charges stem from alleged inappropriate and forcible touching.
Tucker’s daughter, Rachelle Creel, sent the following statement:
“Let me just set the record straight. There is no way my daddy Tommy Tucker is guilty of any of the charges that have been brought before him. My daddy is the finest man I know and I have a son that proudly bears his name. My daddy loved these girls. He invested his life in these girls, he loved nothing more than watching them learn and grow and improve their horse riding skills. He was the one standing at the rails cheering them on at every rodeo. He was so proud of them he could burst and they know it. Not only did my daddy want to teach them horsemanship, he also taught them about respect, responsibility, hard work, integrity, honesty. All the character traits he lived out for them every day. Our prayers of these girls is remember the character my daddy tried to -instill in them every day.”
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