Police: Man sought after entering home, molesting 14-year-old girl

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Police in Gainesville are looking for a convicted felon who they said went into a girl's home and forced her to perform a sex act on him.

Kenneth Smith, 24, is wanted on charges of burglary to an occupied dwelling and lewd and lascivious molestation.

Police said that at about 1:10 a.m. Thursday, a 14-year-old girl ran up to an officer at the Gainesville Police Department's east annex on Northeast 12th Street and was crying hysterically.

Police said she had run from her house in a neighborhood near Northeast Waldo Road, where a man entered through a rear window, kicked in her bedroom door and forced her to perform a sex act on him.

Investigators said that when Smith was distracted by a cellphone ringing, it gave the girl a chance to escape the house.

She told police she recognized Smith and had seen him before in the neighborhood. Police said the girl was able to positively identified Smith through a photo lineup.

The teen was treated at UF Health Gainesville.

Police said Smith also has a warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in a previous incident, and he is considered armed and dangerous.

His mother, Regina Lewis, said he's done things in the past but believes this is a misunderstanding.

"I just don't even see him overtaking no child," Lewis said. "If she was raped, I'm sorry she was raped. But as far as my son, no, I do not believe it. Because that's not his character."

Court records show Smith has a lengthy criminal record, with prior convictions of burglary, trespassing, battery and several drug offenses.

His mother said whether or not her son was involved, her thoughts are with the victim and her hope is that Smith will do the right thing.

"Turn himself in, yes. Then we can get it straightened out," Lewis said. "I'm hoping, like I said, that the truth be justice, you know."

Smith is described as a black man, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Gainesville Police Department.