St. Johns County man accused of repeatedly raping child under 12

Source, neighbors say James Hazel, 61, was a foster parent

By Corley Peel - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A 61-year-old St. Augustine man who was arrested and charged with capital sexual battery was a foster parent, based on information News4Jax obtained from a source and multiple neighbors.

James Hazel is accused of repeatedly raping a girl under the age of 12. He was arrested Friday and as of Tuesday was held in the St. Johns County jail on a $1 million bond.

According to an arrest report, the young girl was abused for years and told not to tell. She eventually told a counselor that Hazel raped her and took nude videos and pictures of her.

The report indicated the abuse took place repeatedly from July 2016 to July 2018.

Neighbors told News4Jax they were shocked to learn of Hazel's arrest.

"Its just hard to believe. I've known him for years and never did think of anything like that, and I still don't believe it,"  said Garland Spangler, a neighbor. "If we needed anything, he'd help us."

Spangler said he's live next door to Hazel for roughly 20 years. He and other neighbors said Hazel and his wife have foster, adoptive and biological children.

Investigators said Hazel admitted to having sexual contact with the child and recording cellphone video of the child in the bathroom and shower.

News4Jax requested comment from the Family Integrity Program that overseas foster care and the Department of Children and Families. They could not confirm nor deny anything about Hazel's case because it is an ongoing investigation.

News4Jax visited Hazel's listed address for comment and was asked to leave.

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