‘No child should live in fear:’ Palatka man arrested and charged for sexual assault of children

Tony Lee McKenzie was arrested on capital felony sexual assault charges out of Putnam County.

PUTNAM, Fla. — A Palatka man is behind bars, accused of multiple sex charges against children. Due to the nature of the crimes and to protect the young victims, some details have been left out of this story.


The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrested Tony Lee McKenzie, 47, after two children told authorities they had been sexually assaulted.

In April a child protection team called detectives when one of the victims told investigators about the crimes. McKenzie was a friend of the family. The child said the abuse, which caused injuries, began in 2021 and went on until December 2023.

Another child also told detectives about sexual abuse crimes and that McKenzie was a family relative. The child did not tell the family out of “fear of retaliation”.

READ: Two North Florida men arrested for possession and transmitting child sexual abuse material

In May, detectives obtained a warrant for McKenzie’s arrest. The sheriff’s office said McKenzie was detained by officers after fleeing to Ohio in early June. He was extradited back to Putnam County on Fri., June 21.

“This is a further testament to how far we will go to bring these predators to justice,” Sheriff H.D. ‘Gator’ DeLoach said. “They can run, they can try to hide, but we will find them. No child should have to live in fear and we hope these children will recover eventually from their abuse. The nightmare is now in jail.”

McKenzie is being held in the Putnam County Jail on no bond. He has been charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child less than 12 years of age by a suspect 18 years or older, one county of molestation of a child 12 to 16 years old, and one count of lewd and lascivious battery.

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