Deputies assigned to the Patrol Operations Bureau have arrested a man for kidnapping and molesting a 9-year-old girl in Safety Harbor.
The incident occurred outside an undisclosed residence in Safety Harbor about 3:18 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2019.
According to deputies, they were called to a residence in Safety Harbor for a report of a kidnapping.
Deputies say the victim, a 9-year-old female, was playing in a neighbor’s front yard with two other children when an unidentified man walked up to the girl and asked to see her panties.
When the girl refused, the man grabbed the victim and dragged her to the backyard of the residence.
Two of the victim’s friends, a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year old girl, both followed and tried confronting the man.
While in the backyard of the residence, the man lifted up the victim’s skirt and tried pulling down her underwear before touching the victim’s vagina on the outside of her underwear.
Deputies say the man also grabbed the 4-year-old girl by the shoulder and pushed her while she was yelling at him to stop.
During the struggle, the 9-year-old victim was able to break free and run away.
Deputies say the victim’s mother called 911 after she tried confronting the man and he fled the scene on foot.
Deputies responding to the scene located, 63-year-old Paul Morgan, walking in the area. Deputies say Morgan matched the physical description provided by witnesses.
Witnesses positively identified Morgan as the suspect.
When deputies interviewed Morgan, he admitted to speaking with the victim.
Witnesses told deputies that Morgan frequents their neighborhood but he was not known to them.
Deputies say Morgan suffers from an intellectual disability and he is a resident at the Harbor Point Assisted Living Facility in Safety Harbor.
Deputies arrested Morgan and transported him to the Pinellas County Jail.
Morgan was charged with one count of Kidnapping, one count of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, and one count of Child Abuse.
The investigation continues.