EUSTIS, Fla. - Disturbing new details are emerging in the case of a man arrested Friday and connected to at least six sexual assault cases at a daycare center and a group home for adults with developmental disabilities.
Reports released Saturday by the Lake County Sheriff's Office allege Kenneth Mar Hagins, 40, of Tavares, asked a young boy to give him oral sex. Another report states Hagins performed oral sex at least twice on an adult male with developmental disabilities.
Hagins is also a youth pastor with Promise Land Ministries in Eustis.
Pat's Kidz World Development Center in Eustis voluntarily shut down Thursday in lieu of having its license revoked by the state. The Department of Children and Families believes the owner knew about allegations of child sex abuse but failed to report it to authorities.
The DCF released a statewide warning on Saturday, reminding the public that withholding information about abuse is a felony as of July 1.
DCF and Lake County sheriff's deputies responded to allegations on July 11 that Hagins sexually abused a child under his care. Since then, three other child victims have been identified by authorities, as well as two adults.
Hagins resigned from the day care this week.
"Given the nature of these allegations, our Department and law enforcement has begun to initiate contact with an additional 40 families whose children attended the child care facility," DCF Secretary David Wilkins said in a statement. "I am appalled not only by the allegations against a person of faith, but also the implication that previous similar concerns went unreported to officials."
Kathryn Cline has sent her children to the day care for nearly four years and said, "I was beside myself because I had no idea, and honestly was a very nice man to everybody."
Hagins, who was charged with sexual battery and lewd and lascivious battery on a disabled person, also worked at Sunrise Arc, a group home in Tavares. DCF is also investigating allegations he sexually assaulted two adults at the home.
It's unclear how long he worked at either facility, but DCF said the victims all came forward separately. Authorities fear there could be more victims who have yet to be identified. DCF said the suspect passed a background check and was given direct access to both children and the disabled adults.
Parents hope to see the day care reopen. Now, they must ask their children if they saw anything wrong.
"I asked in a nice way if there was any problems and they told me no," said Cline. "I spoke to them individually and there's never been a problem."
DCF said the owner of the day care is cooperating with investigation and authorities have asked for the names of every child the suspect may have had contact with, in hopes of reaching out to potential victims.
When reached at the address he provided to deputies, Hagins' sister said she believes he is innocent.
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