Alachua Police Employee Arrested on Sex Charges
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
An Alachua Police Department dispatcher is facing sexual battery and child molestation charges for what two sisters say he did to them while working at a second job. According to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Alachua Police dispatcher James Anthony Hill and his wife served as babysitters for two girls about twice a month for the last few years. Hill is now accused of raping the two children.
He was the husband of a minister, a gulf war veteran, and a law enforcement employee. Seemingly without warning signs, the trust was misplaced.
Hill left work at 11 P.M. when his shift ended at the Alachua Police Department. 69 minutes later, he was arrested on sexual battery and child molestation charges.
Alachua Police Chief Robert Jernigan hired 53-year-old Hill in May of 2006. Earlier, he worked 6 years as a Florida Highway Patrol dispatcher and 5 years with Florida Fish and Wildlife.
"I was shocked to hear it and very disappointed," says Jernigan.
Hill's family declined to make a comment. But a neighbor, Martha Waltman, said her stomach churned once we told her what he had been charged with.
"I was very shocked," says Waltman. "I don't know him very well, but I was quite surprised."
Other longtime neighbors say he's lived in the Country Way neighborhood of Newberry for more than a decade. but they couldn't say a bad word about him.
But the victims had plenty of bad words. They said they stayed overnight at Hill's house about twice a month. One girl, now 11, detailed being woken up and raped last December. Her sister, now 14, told detectives of a similar incident when she was 6. After 8 years, she came forward and told a teacher earlier this week.
"It's just a very traumatic crime that no child should ever have to be involved with," says Art Forgey with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
Forgey says there's more than those two incidents. And there may be more than those two victims.
"He did a lot of babysitting, had a lot of interactions with children," says Forgey. "There may be additional victims due to the contacts he's had throughout the community."
Deputies say Hill doesn't have a criminal history. As of Friday, he was in the Alachua County Jail with a 400-thousand dollar bond.
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