Church Employee Accused of Sexually Abusing Mentally Challenged Child

July 30, 2015

[with video]

A former employee at an Apopka church is facing charges after a child came forward with allegations of abuse that date back a year.

Joseph Averitt, 33, is charged with sexual battery against a mentally challenged child.

The child told investigators the abuse started at church, where Averitt worked as a production manager.

According to a police affidavit, the first sexual encounter happened in a booth inside the sanctuary of the church last year.

That appears to be the same place where it ended, when a church minister called police to the church Wednesday to report the allegations.

In a matter of hours, deputies arrested Averitt.

The church ministry issued a statement saying they’re “shocked and saddened and are in prayer for all involved” and “the truth will prevail.”

Averitt, a 33-year-old father and husband, admitted to having sexual intercourse with the underage victim inside the church, investigators said.

Deputies said the child, who is between 12 and 15 years old, has an IQ of 70.

The child was Averitt’s intern and was not supposed to be alone with him, reports said.

The child told detectives sexual encounters happened inside and outside the church, including in front of Averitt’s 3-year-old son.

The affidavit said the boy was in his car seat and crying throughout the incident.

That led to an additional charge for a lewd act in the presence of a child.

According to Averitt’s Facebook profile, he has been married just over two years.








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