The Polk County Sheriff’s office was busy this week arresting sexual predators, according to an Orlando Sentinel report.  While news that sexual abusers have been arrested is becoming more and more common these days, these particular suspects unfortunately have close ties to Polk County schools and a church.

Apparently, Polk County deputies arrested Matthew Thompson, the 30-year old head football coach at George Jenkins High School outside of Lakeland.  Coach Thompson is accused of having multiple sexual experiences with a 17-year old female student.  Sex crimes investigators found several explicit texts about the sexual contacts on Coach Thompson’s cell phone.

On the same day, deputies arrested two youth pastors from the Mulberry First Assembly of God — Edward Demoreta, 30, and Ricardo Navarro, 27.  According to reports, Demoreta confessed to sexual contacts with a victim between 12 and 15.  Navarro was charged with similar offenses.

To make matters worse, Demoreta is also a teacher, employed by the Florida virtual School.  Allegedly, Demoreta abused the child in a classroom at Mulberry Middle School, and also at the First Assembly church.

If I was a parent of one of these girls, I would be outraged at these allegations and charges.  I think I would immediately want to know how in the world men like these could be allowed to serve as teachers and youth ministers.  I would also want to know how Demoreta could have had sex with a child in both a school and in a church.

As an Orlando child sexual abuse lawyer, I know that institutions like schools and churches have duties to background check adults who work with children and also to monitor those adults in their contacts with children.  It will be interesting to see how this story progresses.  I hope the young victims get the counseling help they will need.

If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, or the duties that churches and schools have to protect young people, call Winter Park personal injury lawyer Kim Cullen at 407-644-4444.

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