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Registered sexual predator arrested for working around small children in Tallahassee

Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 15:47:27-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A registered sexual predator is back behind bars after an investigation revealed that he had been volunteering with organizations in Tallahassee that involved working with small children.

According to arrest documents, investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received reports regarding a sexual predator being around children on Feb.5.

Investigators identified the registered sexual predator as 52-year-old James Runyon.

During an investigation, officers found that Runyon had been involved with at least two organizations within the Tallahassee community that involved working with small children.

Investigators say Runyon who is also a parent, would frequently attend activities within the two organizations .

One organization was a synchronized swimming club and the other was a young children's theatre group.

Documents say members of the organizations informed FDLE of Runyon's behavior involving the children.

Witnesses stated that Runyon would take pictures of other children at the pool, besides his own.

Investigators say they he would also sell Girl Scout Cookies from the bed of his pick-up truck in the parking lot of Trousdell Gymnastics and Aquatics Center.

Runyon was also accused by other parents of making inappropriate remarks about a child stating "she's not a little girl anymore."

Investigators say due to Runyon's sexual predator status, he is not allowed to have any affiliation with Girl Scouts or sell their cookies.

Witnesses told investigators that Runyon never disclosed his sexual predator status to anyone at the Trousdell Center.

Documents say Runyon had been around children at the center for over a year.

Back in March of 2019, Runyon was told that he couldn't volunteer at the center's concession stand anymore.

Despite being instructed not to help, witnesses say he spent an entire day working at the concession stand.

Investigators also spoke with employees at the theatre group who stated that they were not aware of Runyon's sexual predator status.

The employees also stated that children were present each time Runyon volunteered at the theatre.

Court documents note that Runyon was first convicted and registered as a sexual predator back in 1997.

He was found guilty on sexual battery charges on a victim under 12 years old in Saint Lucie, Florida.

Based on the evidence, Runyon was arrested and transported to the Leon County Detention Facility.

He is facing four counts of volunteer violation as a registered sexual predator.