SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County deputies have arrested a man for kidnapping and molesting a 9-year-old in Safety Harbor.
Deputies say they were called to a residence in Safety Harbor today around 3:18 p.m. for a report of a kidnapping.
The victim, a 9-year-old girl, was playing in a neighbor’s front yard with two other children when a man walked up to the girl and asked to see her panties. When she refused, the man grabbed the girl and dragged her to the backyard of the house, deputies say.
Two of the little girl’s friends, a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl, tried to confront the man.
Deputies say while in the backyard, the man lifted up the girl’s skirt and tried pulling down her underwear before touching her on the outside of her underwear.
According to deputies, the man also grabbed the 4-year-old by the shoulder and pushed her while she yelled at him to stop. During this, the 9-year-old was able to break free and ran away.
The 9-year-old’s mom called 911 after she tried confronting the man before he fled the scene.
Deputies say they found 63-year-old Paul Morgan walking around in the area and say he matched the description provided by witnesses. Witnesses also told law enforcement Morgan is frequently seen in the neighborhood, however, they do not know him.
Morgan admitted to deputies he spoke with the 9-year-old.
According to deputies, Morgan suffers from an intellectual disability and is a resident at the Harbor Point Assisted Living Facility in Safety Harbor.
He has been taken to the Pinellas County Jail and is being charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation and one count of child abuse.
An investigation is currently underway.