BRADENTON -- Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski expressed concern Thursday after learning a registered sex offender charged with molesting a 5-year-old girl was baby-sitting the child.
"Nothing is more important than our children," Radzilowski said. "We must definitely know with whom we are leaving our children."
Jerry Lejaun Solomon, 37, admitted to molesting the girl, according to a Bradenton Police Department news release.
About 10:21 a.m. Wednesday, a woman flagged down an officer in the 1500 block of 12th Avenue West to report a crime committed against her daughter.
The mother and daughter were taken to the Bradenton Police Department to investigate her concerns, according to police.
Detectives determined between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Solomon "had touched the 5-year-old female inappropriately on at least one occurrence."
Solomon was charged with one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. He is being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.
"I'm an old-fashioned guy, but I never left my kids with anyone I didn't know personally," Radzilowski said. "If you do, you don't know if they are safe."
People can go online at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office site to check all registered sex offenders in Florida, said Dave Bristow, a sheriff's office spokesman,
"Go to manateesheriff.com," Bristow said. "On the left side of the home page, toward the bottom, we have put, 'Florida links' that we felt might be helpful. Click 'Florida sexual predators and offenders' and then you can search a name."
Bristow said it's always good to check, even if someone is relatively well-known.
"Unfortunately, it's not like it was," Bristow said. "We don't live in a small town anymore. We tell people to check the website for sex offenders especially if they don't know them. Unfortunately, baby-sitting is a way to get close to children."
According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Solomon was released from prison Feb. 19 after serving almost 3 1/2 years of an almost 5-year sentence for failing to register as a sexual offender.
From September 1998 to October 2004, he did time for convictions of charges of lewd and lascivious assault on a child, according to the website. Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitternote>