Bend police search for possible abuse victims

Do your kids recognize 78-year-old George Ellis?

Do your kids know this man? Bend Police want to hear

BEND, Ore. - Bend Police are concerned an elderly man suspected of sexually abusing a young girl in Bend could have more victims and they want to know if your children have met him.

The suspect, George Ellis, is 78, and when NewsChannel 21 showed residents of Romaine Village his mugshot, they quickly recognized him.

Now, inside the office for Romaine Village Estates in southwest Bend, a photo of Ellis stares back at people coming to pay their rent. It's a warning, letting them know Ellis has been arrested on suspicion of sex abuse.

A resident who did not want to be identified told NewsChannel 21 Ellis has lived in the area for years.

"He was always nice enough -- we'd talk with each other and stuff," said the woman.

The woman, who had just finished a swim at the community pool, says that's where she often ran into Ellis.

"Sometimes in the summer, he'd come two or three times a day," the woman said.

Police said they don't believe Ellis abused any children at the pool, but are concerned he may have been using it as as place to meet them.

Ellis is currently at the Deschutes County Jail, being held on $100,000 bail, facing three sex abuse charges involving one alleged victim. He's due back in court to enter a plea Tuesday afternoon before Circuit Judge Wells Ashby.

"You've got to look at the history of this kind of crime. A lot of times, when there's one victim, there's going to be more," said police Lt. Brian Kindel.

Police want to know if you've seen Ellis around young children in the past, and every little detail matters.

"It may seem insignificant initially, but a lot of times those types of things will lead to other potential victims, showing grooming habits, and things like that," Kindel said. "So that's what we're looking for."

The KIDS Center says warning signs of abuse could be as simple as nervousness around adults or one in particular. Also, watch for sudden changes in personality and another big one is a child not wanting to go home, or to a specific place.

Police believe the pool at Romaine Village might have been that place for some kids who met Ellis.

If you have any information, contact police at 541-322-6362.

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