GULFPORT, Fla. (WFLA) — A 38-year-old St. Petersburg man was arrested after police said he pretended to be a Gulfport city employee, followed a 16-year-old girl into a bathroom and assaulted her.
According to Pinellas County jail records, Antonio Gowins was charged with felony child abuse.
The arrest affidavit from the Gulfport Police Department said Gowins “followed a 16-year-old female into the women’s restroom at Gulfport Beach,” making “inappropriate comments” about her age and asking if she had a boyfriend.
He said he worked for the City of Gulfport and tried to have her use the bathroom while he waited inside with her, the affidavit said. When she refused, Gowins left the bathroom. As the victim herself started to leave, he “appeared at the back door and made suggestive facial gestures towards her,” police said.
According to Gulfport Police, she told Gowins that she did not know what he meant. He responded saying he would “show” her, then pushed her up against a corner of the restroom and grabbed her, police said. A witness entered the restroom at this time, the affidavit said, seeing the assault take place.
The witness asked the victim if she “was OK.” When she told them no, Gowins reportedly left on a bicycle, police said. He was later stopped by officers and identified by the witness before being taken into custody.
Gowins was assessed a $5,000 bond and is currently awaiting trial, according to Pinellas Jail records.