Employee charged with sexually assaulting teen in grocery store bathroom

Posted at 12:37 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 23:17:08-04

A 49-year-old man is in jail after he was charged with luring a 14-year-old girl into the bathroom at Winn Dixie in Avon Park and attempting to have sex with her on Thursday.

Detectives determined that Timothy Lynn Hero, 49, who worked at Winn Dixie, had developed a cordial relationship with the girl -- who was described by detectives as “especially vulnerable” compared to most girls her age -- during her family’s previous visits to the store.

On Thursday, security video shows Hero leading the girl into the back of the store and then into the men’s bathroom, where he took her into a stall and sexually assaulted her. The act was interrupted by the girl’s father, who came looking for his daughter and broke down the door of the stall when he realized what was happening.

Winn Dixie issued the following statement on the incident:

“We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and we are taking this incident very seriously. This associate is currently suspended pending the outcome of this investigation as we continue to fully cooperate with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. The trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority.” 

Hero is being held on a $325,000 bond on one count of sexual assault on a victim between the ages of 12-18, four counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between ages 12-16 and one count of cruelty toward a child. Hero currently remains in the Highlands County Jail.