Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Former Lowry Park Zoo volunteer receives probation for molesting boy

TAMPA — A Lowry Park Zoo volunteer accused of fondling a child in the men's restroom last year was given four years' probation Tuesday.

Because the victim and his family wanted to avoid a trial, they agreed to a plea deal, which withheld adjudication in the case of Cameron James Spurback, 23, who has a disfiguring disease.

He will undergo a psychosexual evaluation and be placed in a treatment program. The judge told Spurback that he will have to abide by every rule set by the program staff and his mother.

"Do you understand?" Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe asked. "If you violate either one of those rules, you're going to come see me and I'm going to put you in jail."

Spurback had no criminal history. The zoo did a background check on him before he began his volunteer position preparing food for the animals, Tampa police said at the time.

Spurback went into the restroom at the end of his shift about 2:15 p.m. one day in March 2011, approached a grade-school-age boy, pulled the boy's pants down and fondled him, authorities said. The boy told authorities Spurback then pulled down his own pants and fondled himself.

The child ran and told his parents what had happened. They flagged down security.

Spurback was charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition and lewd and lascivious molestation, and he was dismissed from the volunteer position.

He won't be allowed to work or volunteer at a zoo or other places children frequent without approval from the court and his treatment provider, the judge said.

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