Homeless man charged in sexual assault; watch group speaks out

Action News Jax at 10:30 PM

Timothy James Lambert, 29, is accused sexually assaulting a woman in a public restroom in downtown St. Augustine.

Police say it happened in the early evening hours Wednesday near St. George and Hypolita streets, in the heart of historic downtown St. Augustine.

Police told Action News Jax reporter Ryan Nelson both the victim and the suspect are homeless and are acquittances. Police believe the incident is isolated.

Content Continues Below

“People are out and about,” said Bethany Shivers, who’s here from New Jersey visiting family. “And it’s dinnertime, and there’s children around and it’s just so early in the evening!”

According to the police report, a city employee saw Lambert having sex with the victim in the restroom.

Officers say the employee locked the bathroom door until police could arrive.

Police say the victim was heavily intoxicated, “passed out on the bathroom floor,” and did not know where she was at first.

The report also states, “She did not know she had had sex with Lambert and stated she would never have sex with him.”

“That’s really scary, actually,” said Shannonn Reardigan, Shivers’ friend. “Especially for young girls like us.”

Tonight, members of the St. Augustine Vagrant Watch Group like Michael Miles say they’re disturbed by the incident.

“My initial reaction was 'How sad,'” said Miles. “Because we have been saying this for months that it was going to happen!”

The group believes St. Augustine city leaders and police aren’t doing enough to address crimes committed by some in the homeless community, including public camping, urination and defecation.

They tell us tougher enforcement of the laws could decrease the likelihood of similar crimes happening in the area in the future.

“They need to bring someone out here day and night.” Miles said. “It wouldn’t have taken place!”

Police tell Nelson two officers have been assigned to address the needs of the homeless in downtown St. Augustine. A statement from the St. Augustine Police Department  said the officers, "assess their current situation and address their needs by providing them with the resources that are available in our county and following through in assuring their needs are met.”

SAPD says all criminal activity is addressed appropriately, and they encourage anyone with similar concerns to reach out to police.

According to St. Johns County jail records, Lambert is in jail, and charged with felony sexual assault. He is being held on $100,000.00 bond.