ENGLEWOOD (WWSB) - A registered sexual predator was arrested at a Charlotte County swimming pool on Friday and charged with loitering or prowling near children, a first degree misdemeanor.
The sheriff’s office began investigating after being called to Ann Dever Regional Park swimming pool in Englewood after a parent reported a man had touched her daughter while at the pool the day before. The parent identified the man involved as 41-year-old Timothy Rice, a registered sexual predator convicted in 1998 of molesting several girls at an apartment complex pool in St. Petersburg where he was previously a lifeguard and martial arts instructor.
Deputies learned of other complaints involving Rice “watching kids” at two different state parks in North Florida and returned to the pool to investigate the most recent claims on Friday. The lifeguard told deputies that Rice had been coming to the pool for around two weeks and would bring toys like squirt guns and play with the kids. The lifeguard said one parent complained, saying Rice had squeezed her daughter’s butt and asked fro a kiss.
While at the pool, a parent approached deputies to complain that Rice had grabbed her daughter’s thigh while they were in the water. He was arrested on scene and charged with loitering or prowling near children, a first degree misdemeanor.
Deputies believe Rice was actively prowling for a child victim and may have had contact with other children at the pool or other locations. Anyone with information should call 941-258-3900.