Florida man accused of molesting girl at Hurricane Michael shelter

Deputies: John Stapleton admitted touching the child, but not inappropriately

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office via Facebook

CRESTVIEW, Fla. - A Florida man is accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl at an emergency shelter set up for people seeking refuge from Hurricane Michael.

John Thomas Stapleton, 60, was booked Wednesday into the Okaloosa County jail, where he’s being held without bond on a lewd and lascivious molestation charge, jail logs show.

Stapleton, who is homeless, was staying at Davidson Middle School, which was used to house people taking shelter from the hurricane, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office said Stapleton was arrested after a witness came forward, saying she had seen a video of the girl “being touched in a lewd manner underneath her clothing.”

Once deputies had reviewed the video, they confronted the Destin man, who acknowledged touching the victim but not inappropriately, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Jail logs show Stapleton will remain in custody while he awaits a November hearing on the felony charge. There was no attorney listed for him in court records.

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