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Alias creates confusion over man accused of groping teens at Tarpon Springs haunted house

TARPON SPRINGS — Police say they're sure they caught the man accused of groping some teenagers at a haunted house Friday.

Arrest reports identify the man as Richard Shore Carter and Tarpon Springs police spokesman Capt. Jeff Young confirmed that Monday. But the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office booked him as James Lewis Carter.

So why the confusion?

"We're pretty sure it's Richard Shore Carter and James Lewis Carter is an alias he used back in 1990," Sheriff's Office spokesman Tom Nestor said Monday.

Nestor said a man who called himself James Lewis Carter was arrested in 1990 in Pinellas County. When he was booked into the county jail, his fingerprints were taken.

When the man was arrested Friday night and brought to the jail, detention deputies ran his fingerprints and booked him under the name that matched those prints.

Court records show a man named James Lewis Carter was arrested on a charge of driving a vessel while intoxicated in 1990.

On the day he was set to go to trial, a document was filed with the court saying his true identity was Richard Shore Carter.

According to Tarpon Springs police, Carter groped several teenagers at a haunted house. The Halloween event, in its second year, was organized by a Tarpon Springs company called ScareCo..

ScareCo. chief executive R.J. Latherow, 36, said Carter was with a group that came to see the attraction.

The teenagers Carter allegedly fondled were volunteers acting as cast members at the haunted attraction, which included three downtown buildings, police said.

"They're like my kids. They're my kids' friends. They're family. The whole thing is just horrible," Latherow said.

He said his company takes safety very seriously. Adult volunteers patrol the attraction and are linked by a system of walkie-talkies, he said. As soon as someone complained about Carter's behavior, the police were called, he said.

Carter was charged with four counts of child abuse and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. He was released Saturday after posting bond.

Alias creates confusion over man accused of groping teens at Tarpon Springs haunted house 11/01/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 9:50pm]
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