BROOKSVILLE — A Brooksville man is accused of molesting two teenage girls on a nature trail at a Christian retreat center Monday night, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.
David "Tony" Galloway, 43, flipped up a 17-year-old girl's dress and touched her while on a walk at Lakewood Retreat, according to a sheriff's report.
The girl ran and told a friend what happened. The 18-year-old friend told Galloway to "knock it off," the report states. As the trio reached the end of the nature trail, Galloway allegedly forced the 18-year-old against a tree and molested her. She told him to stop but he refused — the abuse ending only when she threatened to hit him, the report states.
Galloway, of 21403 Anderson Road, was arrested Friday and is charged with battery and sexual assault on a victim over 12. He was being held Saturday at the Hernando County jail on $55,000 bail. He invoked his right to remain silent, authorities said.
Lakewood Retreat, at 25458 Dan Brown Hill Road, is a 120-acre getaway and conference facility for church ministries from all Christian denominations. It's a place for people to step back from their hectic lives, to focus on prayer and fellowship, and is intended to give people the "opportunity to find peace and quiet in nature, be it on a hiking trail, at the tree house, out on the lake, at the animal farm, or sitting on a shaded bench off in the quiet corners of the property," the website reads.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Black said Galloway's listed profession is a "counselor," but didn't know for what agency. Charles Goodwin, manager of Lakewood Retreat, said Galloway is not an employee of theirs. He hadn't heard about the alleged attack and was upset to think someone may have been hurt at his facility.
"This is supposed to be a very quieting environment," he said.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.