ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) - James Reilly is charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old neighbor girl at his home in Columbus Township in St. Clair County.
Neighbors of Reilly, 62, say he was always with an 8-year-old neighbor girl - and they thought something weird was going on.
We learned from police he had been grooming the girl and her family, before the sexual assaults started about six months ago.
Tom Obee learned an alleged serial child rapist is his neighbor.
"That is really sick," he said. "It is not mental illness it is plain evil. There is evil and there are evil people."
"He is a child predator in the worst way," said Undersheriff Tom Buckley said. "Over time, he became a grandfatherly figure and would babysit her on occasion."
Neighbors told us off camera it was odd how much time the girl spent with Reilly. Only after the abuse, her parents learned of the predator's past.
"These people who are predators, take a lot of time and effort to cover their tracks," Buckley said.
Reilly spent a decade in prison for similar sex crimes against a child under 13 in 1989. He's been out for 20 years and lived in Warren before moving to Columbus Township.
"There are a lot of reasons to believe that there is somebody else he preyed upon," Buckley said.
Buckley wants parents to talk to their children if he looks familiar.
"Hopefully we will take him off the street and he won't be able to harm anyone," he said.
"Some of these people are not reformable apparently," Obee said.
Tom Obee can't help but think of the trauma the 8-year-old suffered - and will continue to suffer.
"I am a man of faith and I will pray regularly for that family her family," he said.