Deputies: Man sought after lewd act in front of 11-year-old girl

Investigators say girl flagged man down to get ride to school

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office are looking for a man for questioning in reference to a suspicious incident involving a lewd act in front of a child Wednesday morning.

The Sheriff's Office was contacted Wednesday afternoon by school officials at Ponte Vedra Palm Valley-Rawlings Elementary School after they became aware of the alleged incident.

An 11-year-old student told some friends she had missed the school bus Wednesday morning and began to walk to school. The girl said she flagged down a passing car on Ponte Vedra Lakes Boulevard and received a ride to the school.

The girl was not harmed but has alleged a lewd act occurred in her presence, deputies said.

"The girl came to school that day. She told her friends that she flagged down the driver of the vehicle and that he gave her a ride. They became concerned and told school officials who notified deputies immediately," said St. Johns County Sheriff's Sgt. Catherine Payne.

"It's disgusting. I would be extremely upset if that happened to my kids," said Tara Thompson. "As a parent you try to protect your child as best you can, and it's really sad when stuff like that happens."

The driver was described as a white man in his 30s or 40s with medium-length brown hair. He was wearing a dark shirt and green pants.

The man was believed to be driving a silver SUV. Deputies also believe he may work in the medical field and may frequent a gym in the Ponte Vedra or Jacksonville Beach area.

"Detectives have been out here. They've been very vigilant," said Payne. "They've been out here following leads, canvassing the area, talking to witnesses, getting any info they can."

Meanwhile, parents feel it's a good time to talk to their kids about these kind of situations.

"I feel it's important to constantly remind our kids, without scaring them, that strangers are bad and they can really hurt you, and just to put it in childlike form-way to tell them," said Thompson.

The Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying the vehicle or driver involved. Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Shannon Andrews at the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office at 904-209-3998.

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.