Kidnapping, sex assault charges filed against GR man who accosted children

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who was arrested after assaulting children on Grand Rapids’ northwest side faces four felony charges.

Franklin Delano Farley, 39, faces one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping-child enticement in connection to a Thursday incident, as well as a count of kidnapping and a count of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration in connection to a Monday incident.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said the first-degree CSC charge involves sexual assault with someone under the age of 13.

It’s not yet clear when Farley will be arraigned. Becker said in a Wednesday email that the CSC and kidnapping charges are each punishable by up to life in prison and the assault charge is punishable by up to 10 years.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says that between Thursday and Monday, Farley approached at least five boys, ranging in age from 5 to 13, in the area of Alpine Avenue and Richmond Street or in Richmond Park on Grand Rapids’ northwest side. Police say he tried to lure them away by asking them to help him find a lost dog and that in at least one case, he implied he was armed.

Undated courtesy photos of a suspect in multiple attempted abductions in Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids Police Department)

GRPD released surveillance images of their suspect late Monday night. On Tuesday morning, a neighbor recognized him as Farley and called 911. He was soon arrested at the tent in the area of 4th Street and Broadway Avenue NW where he has been living. Police said he has been cooperative.

Farley is a registered sex offender in Michigan. In 2005, when he was 22, he pleaded guilty to second-degree CSC with a person under age of 13.

Kent County Circuit Court records show the 2005 arresting officer said Farley had been seen on top of a 13-year-old victim trying to remove the victim’s pants. Farley told detectives at the time that several people heard the victim screaming and ran to help. The victim, he said, had been his friend for a couple of years.

A mental health evaluation filed with the court in 2005 noted that Farley has an attention deficit disorder diagnosis and had spent some time in a mental health hospital as a preteen. It went on to say Farley said he had been physically and sexually abused.

“(He) could not explain why he committed this crime against a 13 year old when he did not like being sexually molested when he was a 13 year old,” the evaluation reads in part.

Farley was released from prison in May 2020 after serving 14 years. The state supervised him until December 2020, after which he was released from probation.

His sister, who lives not far from Farley’s tent, told News 8 on Tuesday that she had been worried he would offend again. She said she’s relieved he’s behind bars where he can’t hurt anymore children.

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