Accused sexual predator released on bond

July 7, 2011 1:31:35 PM PDT
Parents in one neighborhood say they fear for their children's safety because of the very serious allegations against a man they all consider a longtime friend -- a man who is now out of jail.

He is accused of sexually abusing three children, and investigators are looking into the possibility of more victims.

Douglas Katzenberger, 43, is facing three charges, including continuous sexual abuse of a child and indecency of a child. Parents of the victims say they trusted this man very much.

We won't identify the parents of the victims who tell a story that began with trusting Katzenberger.

"I thought of him as a family member. You know, my kids wouldn't call him uncle, but he was like that to them," the victims' father said.

"It's sickening. We've spent many nights crying, many nights just throwing things across the yard, beating ourselves up trying to figure out why didn't we know," the victims' mother said.

One of the victims decided to tell.

"He manipulated each child to their personality to know that if I say this, they're not going to tell mom and dad," the mother said.

The 43-year-old is accused in the sexual abuse of three children.

"The victims range from age eight to age 16. The majority of them were family friends, acquaintances of the defendant," Harris County Assistant District Attorney Denise Nichols said.

Prosecutors say the incidents took place at his northwest side home, where Katzenberger is now out on $60,000 bond. When we visited his home on Wednesday night, no one answered.

"The continuous sex abuse case, for example, happened over a period of three years so we do believe that this was ongoing abuse," Nichols.

As parents try to help the victims heal and get them through counseling, they're sharing their story and fear they aren't alone.

"Through this coming out, we're hoping that if there are more victims, they can be strong enough to step forward," the mother said.

"It makes you ill and you think it won't happen to me 'cause I'm always watching, Well let me tell you, it's real, it's out there and it tends to be the dearest of people to your lives," the father said.

If convicted on the three charges, Katzenberger faces up to life in prison.

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