Foster parent/deputy is charged with child sexual abuse in Benton County


Michael Cash, a former Benton County sheriff's deputy, is out on bond.

 WARSAW, Mo. -- A former law enforcement officer -- who is also a foster parent and is well known to the Cole Camp community for his work with children -- faces charges of child sexual abuse.

So far one victim has come forward with sexual abuse allegations against Michael Cash.

He was with the Benton County Sheriff's Department for about 15 years -- and most who know him say he is the nicest guy you'll ever meet.

Many were shocked to hear of the allegations. The victim, authorities say, is a girl age 14 or below.

Cash was the county's only DARE officer, which means he had contact with hundreds of young students. He also was involved in multiple community programs that deal with children, including a coach for soccer and baseball.

Cash and his wife are foster parents -- and authorities say this allegation is out of the foster care program.

Cash is charged with two counts of statutory sodomy, and one count of child molestation.

Parents whose kids were around Cash say this is disheartening and worrisome.

"My son went to a DARE program up there in Jefferson City with Cash, and he graduated that program. Then my daughter went to one of his classes up there, so this is unbelievable," said Paul Petty. "I really hope this is just a big misunderstanding to be honest with you."

Sheriff Rick Fajen says this has been tough on the department because they all know Cash and trusted him.

Cash is out on bond awaiting his next court appearance.