SANFORD, Fla. — A Sanford rabbi was arrested Wednesday on charges he molested a 15-year-old girl over the course of two years before impregnating her earlier this year, investigators said.
The investigation into Lloyd Haughton, who is affiliated with the Synagogue Beth Israel on South Maple Avenue, started on March 31, when the girl told police about the alleged abuse.
Statement from Synagogue Beth Israel:
"Immediately upon hearing the news, Lloyd Haughton was released of his duties and is no longer affiliated with Synagogue Beth Israel. This is very sad and time is needed for us to heal from the entire matter, I'm sure you'll understand."
Officers questioned Haughton, who denied the allegations, the Sanford Police Department said in a media release.
Less than a month later, the girl’s mother contacted police and told them that her daughter was pregnant and claimed Haughton was the father.
The girl terminated her pregnancy, but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined Wednesday that Haughton was the biological father of the fetus, investigators said.
He was arrested and charged with sexual battery by a custodian of a victim younger than 18 years old.
“It is always disheartening when people in positions of authority violate and abuse the trust that is bestowed upon them,” Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith said. “I hope the congregation and community can come together to heal and repair the trust that has been shattered.”
No other potential victims had been identified Wednesday.
Judge decided Thursday that no bond should be given in this case, citing the DNA evidence and the threat she said he poses to the community.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Sanford Police Department or Crimeline, at 800-423-8477.
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