MANATEE -- A 34-year-old employee with the Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County has been charged with molesting a girl over several years, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Gerald Demetric Bell did not meet the girl at the Boys and Girls Club, and "at this time, there is no evidence of Bell being involved in any criminal acts while working" at the club, a news release states.
Carl Weeks, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, said in a statement that Bell was not a member of the club and had been fired and barred from club property, pending the outcome of the case. Club officials were cooperating with the investigation, Weeks said.
"Be assured that the safety and well being of our youth is our utmost concern," he said. "We continue to be diligent in our duty to promote a healthy environment where the youth in our programs feel welcome at all times."
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Bell, who was arrested Tuesday, faces three counts of sexual battery and seven counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. Some of the earlier incidents occurred in Sarasota County, where additional charges against Bell are pending, according to the release.
Investigators said Bell began molesting the girl when she was 11, and the attacks continued until she was 14.
Bell was being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.
Weeks and the sheriff's office encouraged anyone with information to to call detectives at (941) 747-3011, ext. 1905, or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.