Authorities in Florida say an elementary school security officer has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a young girl in a room on campus.
According to the New York Post, 22-year-old Malcolm Curtis Tillman had been on the staff at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Tampa since last summer and was still working through his probationary period at the time of his arrest and subsequent termination.
According to an arrest affidavit, the 6-year-old alleged victim was in her classroom on January 10 when Tillman escorted her to the school’s game room and tied a jacket around her eyes as she sat in a chair with her hands behind her.
Investigators claim he then sexually assaulted the girl after attempting to assure her that “he was going to take care” of her and she needn’t worry, court documents reveal.
When he was finished with the alleged sexual battery, police believe Tillman removed the girl’s blindfold. She later reported seeing the man’s pants unbuttoned, at which point she said he told her that “they were all good.”
Later the same day, the girl reportedly told school authorities about the incident. The school district then informed police and investigators showed up at the school a short time later.
The girl reportedly showed officers where she claimed the assault took place and they found the jacket Tillman allegedly used to blindfold her still in the room.
Tampa Police spokesperson Steve Hagerty described the case as “particularly troubling because you have someone in a position of authority and that’s a very young child.”
Police reports show that the suspect denied the allegation but acknowledged entering the room with the girl for what he claimed was an investigation of suspected child neglect. He reportedly told authorities that he only “wanted to determine how safe she was at home.”
He was arrested and transported to the Hillsborough County Jail, where he remained behind bars as of Friday with bond set at $250,000.
The school’s principal issued a statement to parents acknowledging the officer’s arrest and the allegations against him.
“I am disgusted and shocked by this arrest,” Jaime Gerding wrote. “We trusted him to protect our students and staff and he broke that trust.”
Hagerty said he and his fellow investigators were “happy to make the case as quickly as we did.”
[Featured image: Marcus Curtis Tillman, Tampa Police Department]