ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Hidden off of 40th Avenue North in unincorporated St. Petersburg, just beyond a canopy of shade trees, the Osprey Health Care Center sits behind a security gate.
People who know the owner, Enrique De La Piedra, say he’s very caring and involved in charity work.
Monday afternoon, Pinellas County investigators believe De La Piedra asked a female employee to come into his office. She told detectives he abruptly locked the door, hugged her, then sexually assaulted her.
A neighbor at his Gulf front condo took a look at the arrest affidavit.
“It just doesn’t seem like it could possibly be true,” said Pat Donohoe. “He and his wife are good Christian people. They do a lot of volunteer mission work internationally around the world to help poor and sick people, and they do it out of their own pocket and expense,” she said.
At his condo, a woman who answered the lobby intercom said he wasn’t home. Messages on his cell phone were not returned.
Residents of the Osprey Health Care Center, an assisted living facility, had no interest in speaking about the arrest.
The pastor of the co-located Cornerstone Community Church said De La Piedra is very generous.
“He’s a wonderful man as far as I know. If what he’s accused of actually happened, it’s a real shock to me and I’m sure would be to everybody,” said Pastor Jason Roberts.
At one point, the victim told investigators De La Piedra put his arms around her and as she attempted to get away, she fell to the floor.
They say he admitted what happened and told the victim it would never happen again.
He said the sexual contact was consensual.
De Le Piedra was arrested for sexual battery and false imprisonment and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective N. De Leon of the robbery/homicide unit at 727-582-6200. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or go online.
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