Man known for hanging out outside Polk middle school charged with sexually battering 5 young girls

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — An Auburndale man who is reportedly known for hanging out outside of a local middle school has been arrested for allegedly sexually battering five young girls, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

On March 29 the Polk County Sheriff's Office Special Victims Unit arrested 18-year-old Justin Cruey of Auburndale, for allegedly sexually battering five girls — as young as 12-years-old over a span of two years.

“He’s just a deviant. He’s just a dangerous person and obviously his person of interest to sexually abuse are 12, 13, and 15 year old children," Polk Co. Sheriff, Grady Judd, said.

According to the arrest affidavit and recent interviews with victims and witnesses, sometime in March or early April of 2016, the first victim, who was 13-years-old at the time, was sleeping at family member's home with her friend, when Cruey, who was 16-years-old at the time, entered the home through the bedroom window around 12:30 a.m. Cruey allegedly forced oral sex and unprotected sexual intercourse on the first victim against her will.

The first victim left the bedroom and when she came back, she reportedly saw Cruey laying on top of her friend, who was also in the bedroom.

The second victim, who was 12-years-old at the time, told detectives he laid on top of her and put his hand up her shirt near her ribs and sucked on her neck until he left a mark. Later on, a family member walked into the bedroom and forced Cruey to leave. The first victim did not tell the family member about the sexual battery because she said she was ashamed and embarrassed, according to deputies.

Detectives were told that Cruey hangs out after school ends at a local middle school, and notified a School Resource Officer. On March 26, a School Resource Officer notified PCSO detectives that a 12-year-old student, the third victim, recently mentioned Cruey.

The third victim told PCSO detectives that Cruey sexually battered her approximately two-weeks before at a local park in Winter Haven. She told detectives that he kissed her and put his hand down the front of her pants, and continued to touch her inappropriately. She reportedly told Cruey to stop, but he refused.

On March 18, at the same park, Cruey forcefully pinned her feet and hands down and engaged in unprotected sex, according to deputies. 

A fourth victim came forward, who is 15-years-old, and told detectives that on March 24, they were sitting at a picnic table at a Winter Haven park, when Cruey touched her inappropriately over and under her clothing. She told detectives that she tried to leave but Cruey threatened her with a knife.

On March 29, the third victim asked Cruey to bring her an emergency contraceptive pill, in fear that she may be pregnant. Cruey agreed to meet her at the park. She notified detectives, who found and arrested prior to him going to the park.

Based upon the physical evidence obtained in both of these cases and the disclosures by all four victims, Cruey was arrested and charged on March 29 with the following:

  • 2 counts Sexual Battery with threat of force (F-1)
  • Lewd Molestation (F-3)
  • Sexual Battery (F-2)
  • Lewd Lascivious Conduct (F-2)
  • Lewd Lascivious conduct on a person younger than 16 and older than 12 (F-3)
  • 2 counts VOP (M-2)

Cruey was on juvenile probation for lewd and lascivious behavior and battery, and was additionally charged with VOP. 

After PCSO arrested Cruey, on March 30, a fifth victim came forward and showed detectives pictures of her and Cruey on her phone. The fifth victim, who was 13-years-old at the time, told detectives that this happened approximately three weeks ago when she was spending the weekend at a friend's house. Cruey snuck into the girls' bedroom. The picture on the victim's phone shows a sexual act being done. 

Based on the physical evidence and statements from victims and witnesses, detectives additionally charged Cruey with Lewd and Lascivious Conduct by a person 18 years of age or older on a person less than 16 years of age, and Violation of Probation.

Cruey is being held at the Polk County Jail on $95,000 bond for the Sexual Battery charges, and on no bond for his two counts of Violation of Probation.

Sheriff Judd said he suspects there may be more victims. 

“I absolutely think there may be other victims and that they were afraid of him because he is a scary guy," Sheriff Judd said.

He is requesting that parents contact them if their children had any contact with Cruey.

".....at the end of the day we need to know if there are more victims," Sheriff Judd said.

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