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Brooksville man accused of sexual abuse commits suicide, police say

Bruce P. McAllister. [Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
Published Nov. 16, 2017

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead this week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.

The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the base of a parking garage in West Palm Beach on Wednesday, police said. West Palm Beach police Sgt. David LaFont said McAllister, who was identified from his driver's license, "appears to have jumped from the parking garage and died."

McAllister, 68, was arrested in April on five counts of sexual assault and 27 counts of misdemeanor battery.

Police said an initial investigation found that he sexually assaulted at least two 17-year-old European exchange students at Hernando Christian Academy, where his wife, Cathy McAllister, was the principal. Investigators continue to look into the possibility that there were more victims.

The school's attorney, Deborah Hogan, has previously said that Bruce McAllister was "a volunteer assisting in the physical therapy training of athletes." Police have said McAllister told the teens he was an expert in sports medicine and used promises of football fame when he "courted and molested" them.

The teens previously lived with the McAllisters at their former home on Cappleman Loop in Brooksville, and police have said the couple hosted exchange students for years. The assaults took place from September 2016 to February 2017, police have said.

Since April, all but two of the initial charges were dropped. McAllister still faced one count of battery, and one count of sexual battery of a child under 18, court records show.

McAllister was released from Hernando County Jail in early May after posting a $77,000 bond.

It is unclear why McAllister was in West Palm Beach, but Brooksville police Chief George Turner said McAllister and his wife, Cathy, no longer resided in Brooksville. Both had left the school.

Turner said McAllister attempted suicide earlier this year after his arrest, but had no other details.

McAllister also volunteered with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, working at the courthouse, but was dismissed after he was arrested.

The investigation of McAllister's interactions with exchange students will continue, Turner said, until "we have all the answers."

"We are still investigating and interviewing victims to see if anyone else was involved," Turner said.

Both of the alleged victims and others police suspect may have been victims have returned to their home countries. Brooksville police are being assisted by the FBI with out-of-country interviews.

Staff writer Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report. Contact TyLisa C. Johnson at tyjohnson@tampabay.com. Follow @tylisajohnson.

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