12-year-old charged with molesting young girl

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A 12-year-old boy in Clay County is locked up, charged with a disturbing crime: lewd and lascivious molestation of a young girl.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office said David Berrios Jr. was arrested Thursday afternoon on the felony charge. He's now in a juvenile lockup.

Quite a bit of the arrest report is redacted, but according to report, an officer first investigated the allegations in October and the victim said this has happened before.

After turning himself in to the Clay County Sheriff's Office Berrios was transported to the State Juvenile Detention Center on East 8th Street.

"This is more common than you may expect, but so often, it goes unreported," News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said of the crime. "It happens at different levels."

According to the report, the victim told investigators that Berrios had been "putting his hands down the front of her pants" and that this had occurred "approximately four times and the last occurred a few days ago."

As is typical in these cases, there's no information about the victim, but the report does give a timeline of events. According to the report, police were called to the victim's home on Oct. 6, 2014. A month later, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Sexual Assault Unit got involved. Berrios was arrested Thursday.

"This is in the early stage, so there's still a lot to find out," Smith said.

Smith said the Department of Children and Families is likely already involved and looking for ways to help.

"He would get some psycho-sexual counseling," Smith said. "Depending on the age, anywhere under 16, he'll get that type of counseling. Just in case they may not know right from wrong."

Berrios' case is just the latest in a string of young people being arrested for serious crimes. Last summer, Sharron Townsend, then 12 years old, was charged with shooting and killing a homeless man and earlier this month, 15-year-old Ariel Kornegay was arrested and charged with killing her older brother. As we're seeing with these cases, Smith said a lot of things will be considered with Berrios.

"Look at his record and look at exactly what happened here. How often. So all of those things will be taken into consideration," Smith said. "You really won't know that until the case is completed and all the interviews are done."

The Clay County Sheriff's Office also said other allegations against Berrios are being investigated.

DCF couldn't comment on Berrios' case specifically but said in cases like this, it's not unusual for them to recommend a mental health screening. But that is always done case by case.  

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