A 63-year-old American who has been living – and evangelizing – in Hungary for the last 17 years is currently in custody while police investigate claims that he molested children he was teaching English to as part of his activities at the Baptista Biblia Gyülekezet (Baptist Bible Congregation) down in Szolnok. According to a report last week in tabloid Blikk, Daniel P. is suspected of three counts of child abuse, charges which he denies.
“When we were over at their place he was touching and kissing us,” 12-year-old Brigitta Sz told the paper, while sister Zsuzsa said she just wants to erase the whole incident from her memory. Their 35-year-old mother, who is also named Zsuzsa, and a neighbor filed separate police reports in the case.
A close friend of the suspect and his wife, Patricia, suggested that the charges were bogus, saying that the two have dedicated their lives to helping disadvantaged people and that some locals started to threaten the couple when they did not provide as much assistance as in the past. “But no one would have thought they would accuse the person who helped them of such a horrible thing,” this person said.
A follow-up report on Hír TV said the couple were popular in the town but also claimed the suspect and his wife were preparing to leave Hungary at the time of his arrest, having purchased and picked up plane tickets. Daniel P. is now instead likely to remain in preliminary custody for upwards of a month while police investigate the charges.