Employee accused of sexually assaulting teen girl in Avon Park grocery store bathroom

AVON PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — A 49-year-old man who worked at Winn-Dixie is accused of luring a 14-year-old girl into the bathroom at the grocery store and trying to have sex with her.

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office says security video shows Timothy Hero leading the girl into the back of the store and into the men’s bathroom on Thursday. Detectives say he then took her into a stall and sexually assaulted her.

The girl’s father was looking for her, and interrupted by breaking down the door of the stall when he realized what was happening.

According to detectives, Hero had developed a relationship with the girl during her family’s previous visits to the store. Investigators describe the victim as, “especially vulnerable,” compared to most girls her age.

Hero was arrested on one count of sexual assault on a victim between ages 12 to 18, four counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between ages 12 to 16 and one count of cruelty toward a child.

Winn-Dixie released this statement to News Channel 8:

We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and we are taking this incident very seriously. This associate is currently suspended pending the outcome of this investigation as we continue to fully cooperate with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. The trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority.”

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