MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - As the Midland County Fair packs up after another successful year, a ride operator is sitting behind bars, accused of inappropriately touching a 12-year-old carnival goer.
According to court documents, the 12-year-old told authorities Ricky Hemphill, 55, reached around behind her as he was releasing the restraint bar on the ride and touched her chest.
Hemphill then reportedly asked her if she was scared and the girl replied that she was, to which Hemphill then laughed and turned away.
A 13-year-old male friend confirmed he witnessed the exchange of words but that he did not see the touching.
An Investigation revealed that the ride's restraint bar does not require the ride operator to place his hands anywhere near the rider.
We reached out to the Midland County Fair. The fair would not release a formal statement but say they have a contract with Wright Amusements for the carnival rides. Hemphill was hired by the carnival and not by the fair.
The fair has been working with the company for seven years and say they haven't have any problems in the past.
Wright Amusements has not responded to our request for comment.
Hemphill was arrested and charged on Friday with indecency with a child/sexual assault. He is currently being held in the Midland County Jail on a $30,000 bond.