HAINES CITY, Fla. — Police have arrested a 38-year-old man accused of sexually battering two young girls in his Haines City home.
The Haines City Police Department said the victims, both under the age of 15, told them Joshua Ayers sexually battered them. One of the victims told police, "she was battered about 20 times" by Ayers, and the other victim said Ayers sexually battered her last month.
In a press release, police said the two victims became friends on social media in January and planned to have a sleepover at Ayers and go to Legoland Florida. On Jan. 9, Ayers picked one of the victims up from Alachua County and took her to his Haines City home, where the other victim was also staying the night.
Two days later, according to police, both victims were sexually battered by Ayers.
On Thursday, Feb. 27, the mother of one of the victims reported the incident to police.
Police said they were able to obtain social media exchanges that referenced the incident between Ayers and one of the victims. They said, "Ayers acknowledged the incident for one victim, but denied allegations made by the other."
The investigation is ongoing, and police said they have obtained a search warrant and are reviewing Ayers' electronics.
"The suspect's actions are reprehensible, disgusting and unfathomable," Chief Jim Elensky said. "We are going to do everything in our power to get justice for these victims. We will see to it that this suspect never harms anyone ever again."
Ayers is charged with 20 counts of custodial sexual battery and one count of sexual battery.