wjxt logo

Jacksonville real estate agent accused of sexual battery with boy

Police say sexual abuse of child met through church continued for nearly 2 years

Police say sexual abuse of child met through church continued for nearly 2 years
Police say sexual abuse of child met through church continued for nearly 2 years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Officers investigating a report of ongoing sexual abuse of a child went to arrest a 41-year-old man Thursday at his real estate office and he did not go quietly, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives with the Special Assault Unit had obtained an arrest warrant charging Michael Linkenauger with sexual battery, lewd or lascivious exhibition, and lewd or lascivious conduct involving a child. When they went to his office on Bartram Park Boulevard, he resisted arrest. He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being booked into the Duval County jail and ordered held on $400,000 bond.

Linkenauger was known in the community not only because of his work as a real estate agent, but he founded a faith-based ministry called Hot Dogs for Hope, which provides food and laundry for the homeless population of Jacksonville. He was also involved with other local organizations and churches.

According to the arrest report, it was church members had alerted police that Linkenauger had forced sex on the boy numerous times between August 2017 and June 2019. Officers said Linkenauger befriended the boy and his mother at the church and that he had taken the boy out of town on golf trips and invited the victim to spend nights at his home.

When confronted by the boy’s mother, Linkenauger apologized and said he had fantasies about being with boys, according to the police report, adding that the mother should believe everything her son told her about the abuse. According to detectives, he also told the boy’s mother he had done worse things to others.

The report said Linkenauger refused to speak to detectives. Records show Linkenauger is married and has two children.

Police asked that anyone who feels they or their child was victimized by Linkenauger call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.

“There’s usually more than one victim, but they are apprehensive or afraid to come (forward), but they feel empowered once one (person) comes forward,” News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said.

Attorney Gene Nichols said parents always need to be wary of adults spending time alone with their children, no matter how well-liked they might be.

“It’s always important to be vigilant with who your children are with," Nichols said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a school situation. (It) doesn’t matter if it’s a church situation. Parents always have to be paying attention to individuals to make sure that their children are safe.”

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.