Ex-Meridian employee accused of sexual assault


Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 8:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 11:15 p.m.

A former employee of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare was arrested Wednesday on a sexual assault charge for allegedly attacking a juvenile in a Meridian residential program last year while he was working for the company, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.

Deester Dale Scott, 38, of 405 SE 8th St., was taken to the Alachua County jail Wednesday afternoon on charges of sexual assault and lewd and lascivious behavior.

The victim was 14 and was at Meridian when the incident allegedly occurred, sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey said. Scott is accused of fondling and sexually assaulting the victim.

An arrest warrant states that the incident occurred in March 2010 and that Scott was a caretaker for the victim and other juveniles in the locked-down juvenile wing of the unit. In June, the warrant states, the victim positively identified Scott as the culprit from a photo lineup.

On May 24, ASO detectives met with Scott. The warrant states he admitted having sex with the victim but denied that it was forced.

Sherry Houston, Meridian senior vice president of advancement, said Scott has not been employed by the company for more than a year. She said he was a psychology technician who worked in the crisis stabilization unit.

Houston said the company does background checks on employees to try to ensure safety. Checks are done every five years, she said.

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