Saturday, November 10, 2007

Holly Hill man charged in sex assault on boy

James Walker

Denise-marie Balona

Sentinel Staff Writer

November 10, 2007

A registered sex offender is back in jail after Holly Hill police charged him with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in a park restroom Friday.

Police said the boy missed the bus and was walking to Mainland High School in nearby Daytona Beach when he stopped at Centennial Park about 8 a.m. to use the bathroom.

The boy had just sat down in a stall when police said James E. Walker, 38, of Holly Hill, slid underneath.

Walker pinned the youth to the wall, performed a sex act on him and then fled, said Cmdr. Mark Barker of the Holly Hill Police Department.

The boy, who was otherwise uninjured, alerted a groundskeeper at the lakefront park on 10th Street. Authorities said a police officer found Walker in the parking lot of his apartment complex about a half-mile away.

Parks in Holly Hill are not off-limits to sex offenders, only sexual predators, who have committed more violent crimes and can't live near parks.

Walker got out of prison in April after serving less than half of a 15-year sentence for lewd and lascivious assault on a child under age 16, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

In 1996, he was among the Volusia County men who were the focus of a six-month Orlando Sentinel investigation of pedophiles in the Daytona area.

Walker was able to leave prison early in part because the laws in effect at the time of his offense allowed him to earn considerably more time off his sentence for good behavior, said Jo Ellyn Rackleff, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Today, prisoners cannot work off more than 15 percent of their jail time, she said.

Walker also has been arrested on drug charges in Bay County, in Florida's Panhandle.

Barker said sex crimes in parks aren't unusual. Police made nine arrests this year.

Walker is being held without bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 16, exposure of sexual organs, false imprisonment, simple battery and resisting arrest with violence.

Denise-Marie Balona can be reached at or 386-851-7916.

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