• Man accused of raping woman in Jacksonville Beach condo worked at 3rd Street Diner

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The local man accused of raping a woman worked at a Jacksonville Beach staple.

    Action News Jax has confirmed Fred Ellis Jr. worked at the 3rd Street Diner.  

    On Dec. 13, police say, Ellis forced his way into a woman’s apartment and raped her.

    The restaurant’s manager said Ellis worked as a dishwasher. She said he appeared to be a nice man, and she didn’t notice anything wrong.

    She admitted she never did a background check on him.

    Police say if she had, it would have revealed Ellis was a sex offender out of South Carolina.

    Ellis’ employment wasn’t a concern for local mom Joy Curry.

    “He’s got to work somewhere,” Curry said. “At least he had a job.”

    Thursday, we caught up with Curry taking her son to Gonzales Park in Jacksonville Beach. 

    Officers said that’s where they caught Ellis on Saturday, 10 days after the alleged rape.

    “I think that old lady (was not) expecting ... what happened, so it’s disgusting,” Curry said.

    Officers said they were led to Ellis after the sexual assault kit came back.

    The state has been working to clear its backlog of the untested kits.

    Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson said regardless of that, due to the violent nature of this case, the kit would have been given priority.

    “A sex assailant is somebody who society believes, and correctly so ... should be identified and (quickly) apprehended so that they don’t re-offend,” Carson said.  “It’s a known feature of sex criminals that they have a tendency to re-offend.”

    Eillis will appear before a judge in mid-January. 

    Jacksonville Beach police say they have had 16 rape kits sent to FDLE. All but five have been tested. They are still waiting on results for five that have been tested.

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