ERLANGER, KY (FOX19) - The Erlanger and Elsmere police departments are investigating a report that a young boy was assaulted by a man acting as a police officer.
It happened on Sunday, April 28 at around 6:30 p.m. in a wooded area adjacent to Mary Smith Cemetery.
The victim told police the suspect identified himself as a police officer, but was not wearing a uniform or police identification. Authorities say the victim is under the age of 12-years-old.
"All of our kids play together so this was like something that would have happened to my own child," Lenise Chapman said. "That's how I felt about it. He's like my son."
The suspect was seen by independent adult witnesses in the area of Yeager Court in Erlanger. He is described as a white male, 25-years-old, between 5'10'' and 6 feet tall with some sort of cross tattoo in his forearm area. He was last seen wearing a baseball cap and plaid long sleeve shirt, possibly blue and white. He has fresh scratches to his facial area and hands.
"We've never had anything like this, honestly, around here and it's sad," mother Heather Holbrook said. "It's disheartening."
With three kids of her own, Holbrook is especially sickened knowing the man lied about being an officer.
"That's even scarier because my kids would go to someone like that, even if you tell them," she said.
Elsmere police have been going door to door talking with neighbors in the area.
"We're that barrier between the good guys and the bad guys and we get drawn in to it and that's not fair," Elsmere Police Chief Tim Thames told FOX19. "It erodes community trust."
Thames says parents are urged to remind their children of the dangers associated with strangers, including the fact that strangers may lie about being a police officer.
Anyone with information should the Elsmere Police Department at 859-342-7344, the Erlanger Police Department at 859-727-2424 or Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040.