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Publix employee registered as sex offender accused of molesting coworker

John Utterback, 62, listed as registered sex offender

ORLANDO, Fla. – A 62-year-old Publix employee was arrested on allegations of molesting his coworker, who is disabled.

John Utterback, 62, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior after deputies say he molested his coworker in the grocery's store's break room. 

Deputies said the incident happened Monday at a Publix on South Orange Blossom Trail.

According to an arrest affidavit, the victim told detectives in a recorded interview that Utterback came into the break room and inappropriately touched the victim over clothing. The report shows another employee walked in and then left, and deputies said Utterback continued. 

"[The victim] told Utterback to stop," the report said. Detectives then interviewed the victim's mom. 

"The victim has the educational understanding of a second-grader and mental capacity as an 8-year-old," Detective Margaret Keltz wrote in the report.

Utterback was arrested and booked into jail early Wednesday morning and had his first appearance before a judge later in the day. The judge said this was not Utterback's first time facing charges like this. 

"He does have convictions already for sex assaults, sex battery on a person less than 12 years of age and two counts DUI," the judge said. 

News 6 found that Utterback is listed as a registered sex offender.

Shoppers and parents at the Publix were unnerved about how Utterback was hired to begin with. 

"He's a sexual offender?" mom Daneka McNair said. "That's really weird because I didn't know that."

A Publix representative issued this statement after Utterback's arrest:

Publix takes this situation very seriously and upon learning about the allegations, we immediately investigated this matter and can confirm that Mr. Utterback is no longer employed with Publix Super Markets. Publix does perform pre-employment background checks to protect the safety and well-being of our associates and customers, and like many employers, our background screening processes have evolved over the past decade. We will continue to work with local law enforcement and fully support them throughout this investigation. 

The judge granted Utterback a $10,150 bond. If he gets out of jail, he can't have any contact with anyone under the age of 18 or anyone with disabilities. He also can't return to the Publix where the alleged incident happened.


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