Huntsville man accused of paying to abuse boy

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Investigators say a Huntsville man paid to sexually abuse a teenage boy. The teen was supposedly smuggled into the country from Honduras by his father.

Billy Edwards, 63, was arrested in September on human trafficking charges. He is now also charged with sex trafficking of a child.

Federal court records allege he paid over $20,000 to sexually abuse the teen for years. Investigators say Edwards made 13 payments to the teen's father and the father threatened to contact law enforcement if he stopped the money flow.

But even with supposed evidence including texts, pictures, and a contract to pay $25,000 for a cellphone with incriminating information, some neighbors believe Edwards was framed.

"No I don't really believe that's true and I don't think any of us who live close around him, who interact with him, believe it either," said one neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous. "We've never seen anything suspicious."

Others, like one man who says he was sexually abused as a child, believe it and feel for the victim.

"It takes a sick individual to molest a child," said William Turk, Jr.

Ronna Larson's daughter lives nearby and she hopes the neighborhood can just move forward.

"It unfortunately reflects negatively on the community and makes it hard for everyone," Larson said.

Edwards will be at the federal courthouse in Huntsville for a hearing Thursday.

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