Ex-waiter accused of inappropriately touching boy in restaurant

ST. MARYS, Ga. – A convicted sex offender who was working as a waiter at a St. Marys, Georgia restaurant is accused of inappropriately touching a child and facing charges.

Sonny Michel, 32, is charged with attempted sexual battery on a child and attempted child molestation. He is also facing charges of sex offender registry violations.

Employees of the restaurant, the Compass Mexican Grille and Cantina, confirmed that Michel had been fired.

According to the St. Mary’s Police Department, Michel was working when he inappropriately touched a customer -- a small child -- who was there with his dad.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, who was a sex crimes investigator at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said the details in the report are unusual.

“Freighting and unusual because you would never suspect anything like this happening in broad daylight so to speak or in an open public place,” he said.

News4Jax learned Michel was convicted on a charge of cruelty to children back in 2018 and ordered to register as sex offender. It’s unclear if management at the small restaurant was aware of his past or had the financial means of conducting a thorough background check.

When Michel was questioned by police, the report said, he told officers that the child’s father whispered in his ear quote –”I know you are a pedophile,” then dragged him into the kitchen and demanded he be fired.

Police said they reviewed security video of Michel standing next to the child but could not tell where Michel’s arms were because of the angle of the camera.

“Because of the fact that they could not see what he was doing with his hands, they rely on the credibility of the child,” Jefferson said.

Police say when Michel was asked about the little boy, he would give them short answers then transition the conversation to his altercation with the boy’s dad.

Michel is also facing a felony probation violation.

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