Man, 24, is accused of sexual abuse of girl, 11

Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 11:33 p.m.

A 24-year-old man was charged Thursday with the sexual battery and child abuse of an 11-year-old girl.

Kerrie Jermaine Bennett, 2841 S.E. 20th Ave., was arrested at 5 p.m. in a case that started as a search for the girl, who had been reported missing. The girl reportedly told Gainesville Police that the man was her boyfriend.

Officer Anton Lipski said he went to a home in southeast Gainesville where witnesses told him they saw the girl being molested inside the home by Bennett.

Lipski said that when he entered the home, he smelled marijuana and he found Bennett with a beer in his hand in a room with the girl.

The girl and several other children inside the home told police that she had sex with him several times at the home. According to Lipski's report, the girl also claimed to have smoked marijuana and drank beer with Bennett at the home.

Following his arrest, Bennett reportedly told Lipski he had never seen the victim and never had any sexual involvement with her.

Bennett was being held at the Alachua County jail on Friday. Bond for Bennett was set at $150,000.

Bennett was released from state prison in March, 2005 after serving a five-year sentence for battery on detention staff.

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