HAINES CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 38-year-old man is accused of raping two teenage girls at his home in Haines City, police said.
Joshua Tyler Ayers was arrested for 20 counts of custodial sexual battery and one count of sexual battery, an arrest report states.
According to police, the girls had arranged a trip to Legoland in January. Police said Ayers picked up one of the victims, a 14-year old, from Alachua County and drove her to his home in Haines City, where the other victim, a 13-year old, was waiting.
He sexually battered both victims at the home, police said.
The 13-year old girl, who has known Ayers for some time, told police he had raped her approximately 20 times, according to the arrest report.
“I cannot stress enough to parents to be very careful who you let your children hang out with. You may think somebody is a good person,” said Haines City Chief Jim Elensky. “This guy has an approximately two year history in the department of corrections as a detention officer of the state. So you would think that your child would be safe with this individual but that’s not the case.”
The mother of one of the victims reported the incident to the police on Thursday.
Police did not say how Ayers knew the victims, but the crime of custodial sexual battery is defined as sexual battery by a person of familial or custodial authority to a person who is between the ages of 12 and 18. It’s considered to be a first-degree felony.
Investigators say Ayers admitted to sexually battering one of the victims in a message on social media, but denied the allegations made by the other victim.
“I want people to understand – this happens a lot more than they think and it happens a lot more than we’re notified. We don’t talk about this all the time but I guarantee you it’s going on,” said Chief Elensky.
Police said they have obtained a search warrant and plan to review Ayers’ electronic devices.
“The suspect’s actions are reprehensible, disgusting and unfathomable,” Chief Jim Elensky said. “We are going to do everything in our power to get justice for these victims. We will see to it that this suspect never harms anyone ever again.”
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