A 73-year-old St. Cloud daycare owner was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of raping a girl under the age of 18.
James Ferguson, the owner and president of Rocking Horse Preschool Academy on Tennessee Avenue, was arrested on charges of sexual battery of a victim under the age of 18, lewd or lascivious molestation and domestic violence child abuse.
According to St. Cloud police, Ferguson sexually battered a relative, who did not attend the day care, during a two-week period.
Ferguson was being held at the Osceola County Jail on no bond.
St. Cloud police said parents of students who attend the day care can speak with a detective at the St. Cloud Missionary Baptist Church at 2400 10th Street from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Parent Carol Anderson said she was shocked to learn Ferguson's charges.
"Was my son safe while he was there? I don't know what I think," said Anderson. "I'm so confused because every morning I see Mr. Ferguson and he's happy, and very personable."
An investigation is ongoing. The Department of Children and Families has the authority to shut down the daycare and says the center will remain open but Ferguson can't have contact with the children and the status of the license is under review.
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