COAL CO. & PONTOTOC CO.,OK -- At least four women, including a teenager, in Tupelo and Roff, Oklahoma are waiting for justice. They claim Texoma businessman, Theodore Baio, committed sex crimes against them. Court documents show over a period of nearly four months, three alleged victims in Roff came forward before an arrest was made. Kristen Shanahan spoke to the police chief to find out why.
Next year, 74-year-old Theodore Baio is expected to be tried on three counts of Sexual Battery in Coal County. Baio, also known as the "Pie Man", owned a fried pie shop in Tupelo. On August 20th 2012 one of his employees accused him of touching her inappropriately while at work.
"The allegations were that Mr. Baio touched the victim's breasts, that he grabbed her buttocks and that he kissed and licked her on the side of the face," Atoka County Assistant DA Greg Jenkins said.
Baio was arrested on August 29th and posted $30,000 dollars bond the next day. A short time later, he moved his business to Roff and in July 2013 more allegations surfaced against him.
Roff resident Sherry Dolphay says she was sickened when she heard what Baio was accused of doing.
"Messing with young girls that have worked up here with him, touching on them and being very perverted," Dolphay said.
Resident Vernon Brown said he heard similar accusations.
"There had been two or three girls who had tried to work for him, and well they said he was a pervert," Brown said.
A building on E. Main Street in Roff used to be Baio's pie shop, and according to affidavits it is where some of the alleged crimes took place. The building is just right across the street from Roff Public Schools and that led some parents to ask why a man charged with sex crimes was working just feet from children.
"In my opinion, you know, I'd be very scared as a mother, you know with him working right across from the school and the things that he was doing," Dolphay said.
Court records show On July 2, 2013, one of Baio's employees told Roff Police that he had made her feel uncomfortable at work. She claimed "Baio had begun centering most conversations on sexual matters" and had asked "for her to sit on his lap during a conversation..."
"At the time I didn't know anything about Baio other than that he sold pies," Chief Bohanon said. "Pulled him up on the ODCR system and that's where I (saw) that he had a pending charge against him, that he was set for trial."
Roff Police Chief Glenn Bohanon says his department then started looking for witnesses in the July incident.
"A few of the witnesses were hard to get ahold of, and you know, we really wanted everyone's account of what had occurred," Bohanon said.
Bohanon said he wanted to build a strong case before handing it over to the District Attorney's Office, but in the meantime another alleged victim -- a 13-year-old girl -- came forward claiming Baio had molested her at the end of September at the pie shop. Baio was arrested a few days later. We asked Roff Police why Baio had not been arrested after the July incident.
"We wanted to be more thorough that way the victim could receive some type of justice," Bohanon said. "I believe if we get more facts together it's more likely to lead to a conviction."
Assistant District Attorney Jim Tillison says the Roff cases were filed with the DA's Office on October 21st. During the investigation, yet another employee claimed that in May of 2013 she had been inappropriately touched by Baio as well.
Residents we talked to say they are glad Baio is behind bars where he remains on $100,000 dollar bond. However, some wonder if he would have been more closely watched, could his alleged victims have been protected?
"I mean we try to make our town safe for kids and for people and for him to just out here running around and not anybody knowing what he was," Dolphay said.
We reached out to Baio's defense attorney multiple times.
He did not return our calls.