SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — Paul Morgan did not say much during his first court appearance Sunday morning.
Just that he can afford a lawyer and he understands the conditions of his bond.
- Paul Morgan, 63, charged with kidnapping, molestation
- Deputies say he inappropriately touched girl, 9
- Morgan has intellectual disability, deputies said
Morgan, 63, made his first court appearance Sunday morning.
He’s facing a number of charges, including lewd and lascivious molestation, kidnapping, and child abuse.
"It’s terrifying, it’s absolutely terrifying," said Tara Brocklebank, who lives in Safety Harbor. "My heart just breaks for those children because it’s a trauma that they’ll never ever ever get over."
She has a daughter herself, so when she heard a young girl was molested in the neighborhood, it hit close to home.
Especially, because the man responsible is someone she and several other neighbors say they would see riding his bike around the neighborhood all the time.
“My daughter always had a gut feeling that something was not right with him and he literally scared her. She changed her route coming home just to try to avoid him,” said Brocklebank.
Deputies say it was Saturday afternoon when Morgan walked up to three little girls playing outside in a Safety Harbor neighborhood.
He asked one of them, a nine year-old, to see her underwear.
When she refused, he grabbed her and dragged her to the backyard and molested her.
The two other kids, a six and four year old, tried to stop Morgan, and he pushed the four year-old.
During that struggle, the nine year-old was able to get away and get help.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputies say Morgan lived at the Harbor Point Assisted Living Facility, and he had intellectual disabilities.
We stopped at Harbor Point, and they would not comment.
They asked us to leave the property.
Brocklebank says as terrifying as this is for families with children in the community, it speaks to a bigger issue.
“It just screams about the importance of mental health in our country and that there isn’t enough being done,” said Brocklebank.
Morgan had a prior sex battery charge in 1993.
Bond was set at a combined $405,000 for all charges, and he is ordered to have no contact with the victims.
He also told the judge this morning he can afford his own attorney.
He will appear in court again on Wednesday to confirm that.
Paul Morgan, 63, is facing kidnapping and molestation charges. (Pinellas County Jail)