1. News

Once a juvenile counselor, man charged in sexual battering of 8-year-old in Brooksville

Published May 12, 2012

BROOKSVILLE — A 44-year-old Zephyrhills man was arrested Thursday after he admitted to sexually battering an 8-year-old girl, authorities said.

Mark A. Henry acknowledged battering the girl on several occasions last December at Brook Haven Apartments in Brooksville, according to a media release issued Friday by the Brooksville Police Department. The girl told investigators about the incidents, and Henry, during an interview Wednesday, admitted committing the crimes, the release said.

Charged with one count of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child, he remained in the Hernando County Detention Center Friday in lieu of a $15,000 bail.

Henry was a counselor for the Eckerd Youth Challenge Program at the time of his arrest, but he had no connection in his job to the alleged victim, police said. An Eckerd spokeswoman said in a statement Friday that Henry is no longer employed there.

"The well-being and safety of our youth is of utmost importance to us," the statement said. "If there is an allegation of behavior by a staff member that is contrary to our policies and our mission, we take it very seriously."