Four arrested in child molestation case

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of four individuals on charges related to the molestation of a child. One man was arrested for the molestation and three women were arrested for failing to report the activity to the Department of Children and Families.

On Thanksgiving Day, BCSO criminal investigators were notified by DCF that a six-year-old child made disclosure of sexual abuse. Subsequent investigation revealed the victim also told three adult women of the abuse but they made no report of the incidents.

After interviews with the child as well as all adults involved, Joseph D. Eldridge, age 22, was arrested by the BCSO on November 26 and charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child less than 12.

On Monday, November 30, 2020, Nikki Harrison, age 21, Allison Harrison, age 23, and Tonia Harrison, age 43, were arrested by the BCSO and charged with failing to report child abuse to DCF, a 3rd-degree felony.

“Every adult in the state of Florida is considered a mandatory reporter,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. “That means every adult who suspects physical or sexual abuse of a child or child neglect is taking place must report this to authorities.”

The DCF Hotline is 1-800-962-2873. Reports can also be made online at https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/abuse-hotline/report-online.shtml.

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