Investigators: Community volunteer coordinator used his position to abuse children

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Newly released records show a community volunteer coordinator used his position to abuse children.

Investigators said 60-year-old Perry Gentry had inappropriate contact with children on multiple occasions, including having young boys stay at his home where he would then abuse them.

In October, Gentry was arrested for failing to list vehicles he owned and not disclosing social media accounts on his sex offender registry.

When officers raided Gentry’s Sorrento home, they found images of young boys from a surveillance camera installed in the home, along with rooms set up with beds, toys and video games for children.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

Read: Registered sex offender accused of producing child pornography in Lake County home

Gentry, who was well known on the streets of downtown Orlando, was one of several volunteers who would preach the word of God and provide food for the homeless.

What many people did not know was that Gentry was a registered sex offender, convicted of lewd and lascivious assault on a child in 1992.

Investigators say Gentry used his position to take advantage of the trust of parents and children.

In 2019, investigators say he showed up at Sorrento Elementary School with a young boy, claiming to be the boy’s grandfather. The complaint says the school mistakenly allowed Perry to enter before it was determined he was not the boy’s grandfather.

On another occasion in 2020, the sheriff’s office says they took a complaint from the mother of a boy who had run away from home and was later found to have been staying with Gentry “for a few days.”

Read: Man faces several DUI charges after Marion County crash leaves 2 dead, infant in ICU

Then, in April, the mother of another young boy called Orlando police to report a suspicious incident involving Gentry and her son while the two were doing volunteer work together at a homeless shelter.

“Everybody on the street warned me and told me he’s is a registered sex offender,’ one neighbor who didn’t want to be identified, said.

The neighbor says Gentry always seemed nice and helpful.

Read: Florida man charged in woman’s death after body parts found in bay

“During the hurricanes, he would check to make sure everything was OK.”

Now, he’s facing a federal charge of sexual exploitation of children and producing child pornography.

Perry remains in the Lake County Jail awaiting trial.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.