Content warning: this article contains descriptions of sexual violence.
SAFETY HARBOR — Paul Gary Morgan, a 63-year-old man from Safety Harbor, was arrested Saturday after allegedly kidnapping and molesting a nine-year-old girl.
According to a news release from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan approached the victim at about 3 p.m. as she was playing in a neighbor’s yard with two other children. (Deputies did not name any of the children involved in the case.)
Morgan asked the 9-year-old to show him her panties, the release said. When the child said no, Morgan physically dragged her to the backyard of the house where the children were playing.
The 9-year-old’s playmates, a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl, followed Morgan, yelling at him to stop, deputies said.
In the backyard, Morgan molested the 9-year-old, deputies said. He picked up her skirt, tried to yank down her underwear and touched her vagina, the release said.
The 4-year-old continued to confront Morgan. Morgan grabbed and pushed her, deputies said.
In the chaos, the 9-year-old was able to escape.
The victim’s mother saw Morgan trying to flee the scene, and she tried to confront him, deputies said. Then she called 911.
Deputies responded to the area, and they found Morgan nearby. He matched the description of the man given by witnesses, deputies said.
Authorities arrested Morgan. He’s been charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation and one count of child abuse, deputies said.
Morgan has an intellectual disability and he lives at the Harbor Point Assisted Living Facility in Safety Harbor, the release noted.