A Florida man accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl has been arrested, police say.
According to WFTV, 68-year-old Sydney Allan Markland is accused of luring an 8-year-old girl into his home and sexually battering her in July 2016. He reportedly asked the girl to help him bring food into his house has he had injured his leg. Police were called after the girl told a parent about the incident.
The girl told police that she knew Markland, also known as “Dread,” only in passing. The two live in the same neighborhood in Ocala, Florida.
According to the Bradenton Herald, Markland has been charged with sexual assault on a victim under 12-years-old, molesting a victim less than 12-years-old, lewd and lascivious behavior, and luring and enticing a child under 12-years-old.
DNA samples from the girl’s clothing connected Markland to the crime.
Markland told police that the 8-year-old was dressed provocatively and that the way she acted suggested that she was consenting to sexual activity. He also told deputies that his “culture is different” and that his actions were acceptable. According to Inside Edition, Maryland is from Jamaica and is Muslim.
After luring the girl into his home by telling her that he was injured, Markland reportedly sexually battered her and told her not to tell anybody.
Markland allegedly admitted to police that he was “familiar” with the children in the neighborhood, leading investigators to believe that there may be other victims. No additional alleged victims have come forward as of May 17.
WFTV asked Marion County deputies why it took 10 months for Markland to be arrested in connection with eh sexual battery.
“Well, we have a case where a 68-year-old lured an 8-year-old into his house and then he sexually battered her,” Lauren Lettelier of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office told WFTV. “I know that’s a really big concern for everybody looking at the time difference in this case. With a case like this, we have to be very solid with our evidence.”
Investigators say that they needed time to build the case as they only had a partial DNA match.
Markland is currently being held in jail without bond.
Readers of Inside Edition shared their thoughts on the story.
“Ugly monster took that little girl’s innocence,” one reader commented. “I hope she can overcome being violated by this monster.”
“I pray this poor child gets the proper counseling and support so that the horrific and disgusting abuse of this sick mind does not follow her throughout her life – I pray for her healing,” another user wrote.
Sources: WFTV, Bradenton Herald, Inside Edition / Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo via Wikimedia Commons, Marion County Sheriff’s Office via Bradenton Herald