First Baptist Church deacon accused of sex battery of child


[with video]

LEESBURG, Fla. —A deacon at the First Baptist Church in Leesburg was arrested Friday in a child sex case.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Thomas Halsey sexually abused a young girl for two years.

Halsey is accused of sexual battery on a child under 10 years old. Investigators said the young girl said Halsey forced the child to perform sexual acts on him inside his home and his tree house, located in his backyard.

Deputies said Halsey denied the accusations and claimed the child initiated the sexual acts. According to the arrest report, Halsey told investigators the child “asked him to take off his clothes and lay on top her while she was naked.”

As a deacon, Halsey worked with widows, but never with children, investigators said.

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