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Head of ranch for troubled children charged with molestation

Bruce Thompson, 53, of Downing, Mo., is charged with Child Molestation and Enticement or Attempted Enticement of a Child. (Schuyler County Sheriff's Office)

The man who runs a local Christian-oriented ranch and retreat for troubled children and adults is accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl who stayed overnight at the ranch.

Bruce Thompson, 53, of Downing, who runs Coy's Trinity Ranch and Retreat, Incorporated, is charged with Third-Degree Child Molestation and Enticement or Attempted Enticement of a Child. Both are felonies.

Court documents state that the victim from southeast Iowa told investigators that Thompson fondled her at the ranch sometime between May 15, 2017, and June 1, 2017.

The girl told authorities the fondling happened under blankets while she was sitting on a couch of the residence watching TV with Thompson.

Investigators said the girl's parents provided her cell phone which contained text messages back and forth with Thompson that confirmed the sexual contact.

According to court documents, when a member of the Missouri State Technical Assistance Team and a Schuyler County deputy interviewed Thompson on Thursday, Thompson acknowledged texting the girl, but he claimed to have trouble remembering the full context of the text messages.

When investigators pressed Thompson about certain explicit content contained within the messages, he denied sending that content, even going so far as to imply another man who lives within his residence and works for the ranch may have used Thompson’s phone for text messaging in the past.

Investigators talked to that man, and he told them he never uses Thompson’s phone for any purpose and did not ever text message the children who attend the ranch.

As of Friday afternoon, Thompson was being held in the Schuyler County Jail on $100,000 cash-only bond.

The case was investigated by the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office, the State Technical Assistance Team and the Mahaska County Sheriff's Office in Iowa.

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