Prosecutors have linked a staff sergeant in the Florida National Guard to several child molestation cases in Clay and Duval counties.
Action News Jax told you Tuesday that Jovanne Montanez, 30, was arrested on an active warrant out of Duval County.
Montanez is facing several charges, including lewd or lascivious molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The warrant, which is connected to incidents in 2016, was issued Jan. 15.
In 2016, prosecutors said Montanez inappropriately touched at least three children, who were 8, 12 and 14 at the time, on separate occasions.
Action News Jax obtained a copy of the new warrant, which said in April 2016, the victim was taking a shower at Montanez’s house when the suspect opened the shower and touched him.
The warrant also said in August 2016, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office received a fax from the Department of Children and Families about an incident involving another child.
According to the report, the victim told investigators Montanez offered him marijuana and alcohol and did “sexual things” to him.
The victim said he was 14 years old when he met Montanez at the community pool at Robert E. Lee High School. The victim said Montanez offered him a job to help develop a website and invited him to sleep over at his house on several occasions, where the incidents took place.
This Staff Sergeant in the Florida National Guard is facing new charges out of Duval County after prosecutors linked him to more child molestation cases. Hear from the mother of one of the victims coming up at 5:30 on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/q3psEyCI1m— Christy Turner (@ChristyANJax) January 30, 2019
Action News Jax uncovered that Montanez was previously arrested in Clay County in 2016 on similar charges.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said Montanez offered alcohol to four 12-year-old children who were having a sleepover at his house in April 2016. The children told deputies they refused to drink the alcohol.
The report said Montanez took one of the victims in the bathroom and put his hands in the child’s pants. The victim said Montanez stopped when he asked him to.
The warrant also said an 8-year-old boy came forward to his mom months after an incident in February 2016 at Montanez’s Clay County house.
I just obtained the new arrest warrant for Montanez out of Duval County. It includes additional incidents in Jacksonville in which prosecutors say Montanez molested young boys in 2016. @ActionNewsJax— Christy Turner (@ChristyANJax) January 30, 2019
The victim said he was sleeping when he woke up to Montanez touching him. He said Montanez stopped and left the room when he woke up.
The victim’s mother, whom we’re not identifying to protect her son’s identity, said her son was friends with the boy who lived with Montanez.
“I would definitely consider him a monster,” she said. “I’m almost positive there’s more kids that aren’t coming forward.”
Court records show Montanez pleaded no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was credited for 44 days in jail and sentenced to 10 months’ probation.
A judge also ordered him to have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.
The victim’s mother said the punishment was a slap on the wrist.
“I wish they would do something so no more kids get hurt, no more kids come in his path,” she said.
The victim’s mother said the cases were closed, but the Clay County Clerk of Courts now lists the case as reopened.
Action News Jax reached out to the Florida National Guard, which said following his 2016 arrest, Montanez was terminated from his full-time employment with the Florida National Guard and both his commander and adjutant general recommended his separation from military service, which is still in the process of being considered.
A spokesperson said Montanez currently remains on drill status, meaning he reports for duty one weekend a month, but he has been stripped of his security clearance and detailed to an isolated area of Camp Blanding, where he has no official interaction with children or the public.
An employee with the Florida National Guard at Camp Blanding was arrested on a warrant out of Duval for lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. Neighbors react to his arrest, coming up at 10 on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/5rF2LaNqGF— Christy Turner (@ChristyANJax) January 30, 2019
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