GULFPORT — A Gulfport parks maintenance worker is accused of sexually battering an 8-year-old girl as many as 60 times over the course of a year, police said.
James Gordon Vice, 66, engaged in sexual activity with the girl in 2003, police said. He has been a city employee since 1989, when he was hired in the city's facilities maintenance and EMS division. At the time of the alleged abuse, he was a maintenance worker in the Department of Community Services, records show.
The girl was in Vice's care at the time of the alleged abuse, an arrest affidavit says. The attacks did not happen on city property or while he was working, police said.
The girl, now 16, told a school counselor that she had been abused, and the counselor told the school's resource officer. Investigators arranged and recorded several telephone calls in which Vice, 5108 27th Ave. S, made incriminating statements, substantiating the girl's allegations, police said.
He faces one count of capital sexual battery on a child under 12, police said. Police said Vice may have committed as many as 60 instances of sexual battery in a year.
Vice was suspended indefinitely without pay Friday, said City Manager James O'Reilly.
In 2003, the year of the alleged abuse, Vice was awarded a certificate from the city for his successful completion of a harassment and sensitivity training program.