Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Assault on Child Disturbs Neighbors; Police Interview Registered Sexual Offenders in the Area

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Assault on Child Disturbs Neighbors; Police Interview Registered Sexual Offenders in the Area

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan & Derek Gilliam

Tom Hudson said his comments "wouldn't be printable" about whoever beat and sexually battered an 8-year-old girl Monday night, less than a half-mile from where he brought his sons to Resurrection Catholic School on Tuesday morning.

His angry thoughts were echoed by others just east of Jacksonville University as officers continued searching a wooded lot between St. Luke's Episcopal Church and a JU building in the 3000 block of University Boulevard North for evidence.

Hudson and his 7- and 10-year-old sons were preparing for today's first day of class when he spoke. They stood blocks away from where the girl told police she was taken into the woods and attacked about 6:40 p.m. Monday.

"I can't believe something like that would happen," Hudson said. "There should have been some parental supervision. I hate to do that, but I have two boys and I wouldn't let them out of my sight for 30 seconds."

The attack was within sight of the back of the sprawling Eagle Pointe apartment complex on Justina Road, where Sylvia Hall lives.

As she ended a Tuesday morning walk with her dog, she was worried that it was within walking distance of her apartment.

"It's extremely shocking," Hall said. "I go in at 5 p.m. and I stay in. I know there's danger out there, but it's everywhere, all over."

During a Monday briefing at the scene, Sheriff's Office Chief Tom Hackney said the 8-year-old was outside by herself.

"This poor little girl was beaten fairly badly during this assault," he added, saying she was traumatized and couldn't provide much information Monday night other than her attacker was male.

He said the child was hospitalized to be treated and have evidence collected. Her parents were at a residence in the area, but Hackney said he couldn't provide more information due to confidentiality laws on sexual-assault victims. …

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