A man working at a sports complex in Vero Beach, Florida, has been arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12. During the investigation, police found out that he had been using a stolen social security number for work and is in the country illegally.
The accused, Erick Bello, 27, was working a summer camp at the Jungle Club Sports Complex on July 6. A young girl said they were alone in an enclosed room and he touched her inappropriately. Police say Bello initially denied being alone with her but later changed his story, but maintained that he did not touch her.
Police are asking any other victims to come forward at this time.
“Our detectives are hoping that there are no other victims of this child predator,” said Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar. “We are sharing his photo, knowing that in reality there are likely other victims. Anyone with information pertaining to Bello’s activities should come forward immediately.”
However, Bello’s employer, John Cairns, owner/operator of the Jungle Club, is standing by his employee, telling local news:
“He is an individual that, in my personal opinion, would never have done this. We are still investigating, and we’re never going to say never, but we have to make sure we have open arms and open eyes.
“We’re all very upset with this. Erick is kind of a family member.
“Eric startled this young lady, and apparently they just passed each other on the stairs.
“This young man has worked for us for a number of years. He has been the best employee that we could ever ask for. So we are standing behind this employee.”
Cairns added that Bello is a “good man, a husband, and a father” and said he will not distance himself from his employee even though he has been advised to do so.
Cairns said Bello passed the background check for employment at the facility which has been family owned and operated for nearly three decades. Cairns’ own grandchildren attended the same summer camp and said he would’ve never put them in harms way. He is asking everyone “just take a deep breath and just let the process take its necessary time to determine what has happened” and not to jump to conclusions.