A St. Petersburg man is accused of molesting a three-year-old litle girl. The suspect, 50-year-old Bernard Jones, was already a registered sex offender.
Police say Jones is dating the child's mother and that he went into the toddler's bedroom late Tuesday night and started performing oral sex on her. Neighbors say they're outraged Jones, a registered sex offender, was living on their block without their knowledge, and that he'd violate a child again.
"An innocent kid. You don't mess around with kids like that. They're angels," said neighbor Jose Alicea.
The girl's mother caught Jones in the act and screamed for help. Her teenage son came in, and the two tackled Jones, who then bit the teen in the stomach. But Jones escaped. He ran down the street and hit at a friend's house until officers arrived to arrest him.
Jose Alicea praises what the mother and teen did, saying he would've reacted the same way.
"I would take him and rip him apart," Alicea said.
Police say it's unfortunate Jones victimized another child after being convicted of kidnapping and sexual assaulting a child under 12 in Miami-Dade County. But the case should serve as an important reminder to check the sex offender registry online.
"It's important I think if you do have young children in your home and you have any doubts, you should look it up and know for yourself exactly what that person was charged with, because this guy was a registered sex offender and had check in with Pinellas County in December. Clearly, he shouldn't have been around young children," said Yolanda Fernandez, St. Pete Police public information officer.
Bernard Jones is being held in the Pinellas County jail on a $1.1 million bond. In court Wednesday, he told the judge, "These are all just allegations."