'Safari Joe' Bound Over For Trial In Child Sex Abuse Case

Thursday, January 3rd 2013, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

A Mayes County man known as "Safari Joe," charged with sexually abusing two young girls, was bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing Thursday.

A judge decided there was enough evidence for Joe Matthew Estes, 45, to stand trial on two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of lewd molestation.

Three other counts were dismissed.

Estes has had several animal sanctuaries over the years in Green Country, including Safari Joe's Wildlife Refuge near Adair.

Known as "Safari Joe," Estes has performed animal shows for several years at schools, churches and other locations.

Investigators said the girls involved in the case were acquaintances of his, not children he met through public appearances or animal shows.

One of the girls was 10 or 11 years old, at the time that she said the abuse started.

8/2/2012 Related Story: 'Safari Joe' Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse