SANFORD, Fla. – A rabbi accused of molesting and impregnating a 15-year-old girl has been arrested, the Sanford Police Department said.
Investigators arrested Lloyd Haughton, 41, on charges of sexual assault on a minor living in the custody of Haughton.
The Sanford Police Department said it was notified on March 31 by the 15-year-old girl that Haughton had been molesting her for the past two years.
The victim told police Haughton had inappropriately touched her breast and genital area, police said. Haughton was questioned by investigators and denied all allegations.
Police said investigators were notified April 25 by the girl's mother that the girl was pregnant, and Haughton was the father.
Investigators were notified on Wednesday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that test results concluded that Haughton was the biological father of the fetus, police said.
Haughton was arrested Wednesday. Police said he was charged with sexual battery by a custodian/victim under 18 years of age.
Haughton was a local rabbi and affiliated with the Synagogue Beth Israel at 301 S. Maple Ave. for about seven years, police said.
"Immediately upon hearing the news, Lloyd Haughton was released of his duties and is no longer affiliated with Synagogue Beth Israel. This is very sad, and time is needed for us to heal from the entire matter. I'm sure you'll understand," Synagogue Beth Israel said in a statement.
Because of Haughton’s position, he spent a lot of time with youth in the community, Sanford police public information Officer Bianca Gillett said. Police are asking anyone that has any information about possible incidents that could be similar in nature to contact the Sanford police.
“At a minimum, have some conversations with your children, and make sure there isn't a need to contact us for anything,” Gillett said.
Sanford police Chief Cecil Smith also issued a statement about the arrest.
"It is always disheartening when people in positions of authority violate and abuse the trust that is bestowed upon them," Smith said. "I hope the congregation and community can come together to heal and repair the trust that has been shattered."
Haughton denied all of the allegations, police said.
During a first appearance Thursday, a judge denied bail for Haughton.
Anyone who wishes to report information regarding this incident or other possible incidents are asked to contact the Sanford Police Department or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477) or visit crimeline.org. Calls made to Crimeline remain anonymous. Police said tips to Crimeline that lead to solving a felony case are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.