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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

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Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 03:03 PM

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Memphis Couple Charged With Child Rape, Sexual Battery And Incest

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WVLT/WREG) -- A couple from Memphis has been arrested on charges related to child rape, sexual battery and incest, CBS affiliate WREG reported.

John Henley, 70, and Dava Henley, 69, are charged together with two counts of rape of a child, four counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of incest. According to WREG, a grand jury indictment stated that the crimes occurred between 2002 and 2009.

John Henley was charged separately with raping a child between 2006 and 2009.

The indictment stated that, in some cases, the couple forced a young boy to engage in sexual activity with a young girl. Both victims were reportedly family members.

"Kids are just such a young age, not knowing any different, thinking that, 'Hey, life's supposed to be this way.' Well, it's not," said one of the victims' relatives.

The relative said he first learned of the abuse two years ago from the victims' mother. The Tipton County Sheriff's Office confirmed that it took a report of a sexual abuse on the couple in 2017.

A neighbor said that while they had problems with them "because they don't keep their animals inside the yard," there were no warning signs that the couple was sexually abusing children.

"You also think, like, was there something that I could have seen, was there something that I could have looked for to help alert authorities? she said.

The victims' relative said he believes authorities knew about the abuse for far too long before stepping in, WREG reported.

"This should have been put to a stop a long time ago. To keep the kids in that kind of atmosphere, something should have been done," he said.

The couple was indicted Monday and taken into custody on Wednesday.

According to WREG, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services confirms it is investigating the incident, but wouldn't say when the investigation began.