Florida deacon sexually assaults girl he lured to treehouse

By Michelle Kapusta,

Authorities said a Florida deacon allegedly sexually assaulted a young girl after he lured her into a treehouse.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Thomas Warren Halsey of Leesburg, Fla., has been charged with two counts of sexual battery after police said he inappropriately touched the child and exposed himself inside a treehouse behind his home.

WKMG noted that the 65-year-old had been a deacon at First Baptist Church for the last two years, but due to the allegations, he has been removed from the position.

Investigators said the girl, who is only identified as being under the age of 10, told them that Halsey asked her to inappropriately touch him in the treehouse and under the sheets in his bed. Before discussing the events in detail, she stopped and told investigators that it was “creepy,” the Sentinel reported.

"It's kind of reminiscent of the plain white van with the puppy inside. It's definitely a lure," said Sgt. James Vachon of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The minister is being held without bond.

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