Theme park workers accused of sex crimes with teens in Osceola County, deputies say

Ashley Edlund reports.

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Two theme park workers are facing second-degree felonies and up to 15 years in prison each after they allegedly committed sex crimes with teens.

Michael Howell, 26, and Brian Maynard, 44, are accused of having sex with a 14-year-old they had invited to live with them at their Poinciana home.

Records show one of the men worked at Universal Orlando and the other one worked at Disney.

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Deputies said they informed both employers after the arrests.

Part of the reason deputies notified the theme parks is that they're checking to see if there are any more potential victims.

A sheriff's spokesman said they’re concerned that victims could stretch across the state.

The neighbors never saw it coming and had no clue the 14-year-old wasn't the only teen allegedly living with the men, who told cops they have an "open relationship."

"It's horrible. It's really horrible," said neighbor Barbara Centella.

At Universal, Howell allegedly confessed to a woman with whom he worked.

She said things began to unravel when Howell told her the guys who were staying with him would be moving out soon because they had to go back to school.

She assumed he meant college and asked which one. She said he responded by saying they were going back to high school. She said she was shocked and disgusted when she found out the boys were 14, 15 and 17 years old.

Howell's only complaint, the whistleblower said, was that one of those underage boys ate his yogurt.

"Just know that there's people out there that have the ability and the want to do harm to them," said Maj. Jacob Ruiz, with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

One officers said Howell spoke about what had happened very easily as if it was not a big deal.

The other teens allegedly living in the home appear to come from broken homes themselves, deputies said.

"We see that a lot with gang recruitment,” Ruiz said. “But also people who want to harm them in other ways and especially exploit them sexually."