Man accused of bathroom assault pleads not guilty

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The man accused of sexually battering a child in the restroom of a McDonald's on Emerson Street pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a Duval County court.

Keith Sykes is charged with possession of marijuana, loitering and prowling, and child sexual battery. The judge set bond at $5,003 for the marijuana charge and $503 for the loitering charge. Bond was denied on the capital sexual battery charges.

Sykes' next court date was set for Sept. 22.

Sykes has a lengthy criminal record. He's faced minor charges like trespassing and unlawful peddling to more serious crimes, like dealing in stolen property and grand theft. We also found two separate cases where someone filed injunctions for protection against Sykes. One of those cases involved domestic violence.

JSO Chief Tom Hackney said the child's father entered the bathroom about 5 p.m. and saw a 25- to 30-year-old black man wearing dark clothing leaving a stall where his youngest son was pulling up his pants.

The father realized what had happened, saw the attacker running away, got in his car and pursued him east on Emerson toward Spring Park Road, but lost sight of him.

"The father, like I said, recognized something wasn't right, he took off after the subject, trying to catch up to him. He pursued the suspect from the McDonald's restaurant all the way to Spring Park and Emerson Street where he lost sight of him," said JSO Director Michael Bruno.

A family member of the victim, who is not being identified due to the sensitive nature of the case, told News4Jax that this has been horrifying for the family. The woman said not only is this family coping with the trauma of the attack, they're also facing a lot of criticism, and it hurts.

"They were in a family-oriented restaurant sitting just a couple chairs away from the bathroom," the family member said. "You can't always stop everything. This man is crazy!" 

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