The Florida Department of Children and Family Services confirmed they opened an investigation into iKARE Youth and Family Services following allegations of lewd molestation inside a Westside group home.
A spokesperson told Action News Jax they are “very concerned” about the allegations made in November and their investigation remains ongoing. The children have been removed from the home.
The iKARE director, Torrance Gary, has been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and failure to report child neglect. A mug shot is not available as a public record because of Gary's previous service as a Miami police officer.
"Very surprising. They’re quiet when they are home and there’s no disruptions at all."— Elizabeth Pace (@PaceAnJax) December 28, 2018
Neighbors of the iKARE foster home under investigating say they never had issues with them, and they always kept to themselves. You'll hear from them next on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/X7O2fKUwDW
An arrest warrant states two witnesses, a caregiver and supervisor, reviewed surveillance video of the alleged incident. They claim they reported the incident to Gary, who then told them not to report it. They said Gary also tore up a witness incident report.
The warrant also mentions a police officer who reviewed the surveillance video. He reported a 30-minute time gap in video surrounding the alleged incident, according to the warrant.
Action News Jax requested a case report for the lewd molestation allegations and is waiting to hear back from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
This is the arrest warrant for the iKARE Director, Torrance Gary. He has been charged with child abuse and failure to report child neglect. His attorney told me Gary denies all of these claims. More from her ahead at 6 on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/6r8ftqNCxJ— Elizabeth Pace (@PaceAnJax) December 28, 2018
Neighbors of the group home told Action News Jax the staffers and children inside the home did not socialize with the neighborhood and were very quiet.
“Very surprising,” neighbor John Murphy said. “They’re very quiet when they are home. There’s no disruptions at all. So the whole neighborhood is fairly quiet.”
“The kids hardly ever come outside,” neighbor Betty Hodgson said. “They stay inside most of the time.”
Action News Jax reporter Elizabeth Pace spoke to a man who said he was the manager for iKARE. The only statement he made was that employees are “very disgruntled."
Pace also spoke to Gary's attorney, who said her client denies these allegations. She argues there are too many unanswered questions surrounding the alleged incident and they working to gather more evidence.
I talked to the @ActionNewsJax Law and Safety expert, Dale Carson, about the lewd molestation allegations made at the iKARE group home. This is what he says will be key evidence in the case throughout the investigation. pic.twitter.com/F0KLVBPlb2— Elizabeth Pace (@PaceAnJax) December 28, 2018
Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson said a key piece of evidence will include any injuries to the victim, home surveillance video and the victim’s statement made through the DCF investigation.
If convicted, Carson said Gary could face up to five years in prison for these felony charges.
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