A 59-year-old man was arrested by the Ocala Police Department after he was accused of sexually battering and molesting a child under the age of 12.
In a social media post on Friday, the Ocala Police Department stated that the alleged crimes were committed over a period of multiple years by Stevie Irizarry, and the abuse began when the victim was approximately six years old.
The victim is now an adult and recently came forward to report the incidents of abuse to law enforcement officers.
According to OPD, cases involving multiple felony charges of sexual-related crimes on a child are “often very complex” and require a “great deal of skill and dedication” to gather enough evidence to build a strong case against the suspect.
On Wednesday, Irizarry was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held without bond. He is facing felony charges for sexual battery on a child less than 12 years old (one count) and lewd or lascivious molestation on a child less than 12 years old (six counts).
A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday April 11, according to jail records.
On its Facebook page, the Ocala Police Department stated that the victim was brave to come forward and report the abuse to law enforcement. “By speaking up, the victim is not only seeking justice for themselves but also potentially protecting other children from being victimized by the accused.”
If you or someone you know may be a victim of a sexual-related crime, the Ocala Police Department encourages you to call law enforcement. “We take crimes like this very seriously,” added the police department.