56-year-old man arrested for groping children at Volusia County beach
Angry parents confronted a man who they said was groping their children before deputies questioned and arrested him, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
The VCSO said in a statement that deputies responded to complaints about the man on Saturday, Aug. 19 in the afternoon at New Smyrna Beach. Witnesses told them that the man, 56-year-old John Edington, had been grabbing and harassing multiple people on the beach, including two girls, aged 8 and 9.
"Edington approached the 9-year-old on the shoreline while her mother was in the ocean, and rubbed his hands over her body before her mother was able to get to shore and confront him," the VCSO said, "An 8-year-old girl told deputies Edington touched her in the same way, over her bathing suit top and bottoms."
Deputies claimed Edington appeared intoxicated and insisted he was "just a friendly guy." Bodycam footage released by the VCSO showed him as a short, balding white man wearing a t-shirt that says "FJB" (an anti-Joe Biden slogan). In the footage, Edington gets belligerent, claiming that all he did was "talk to kids," complaining that "everyone was acting like he molested" them, and yelling that he was "sweating my *** off" in the back of the deputies' car.
Deputies arrested Edington and transported him to the Volusia County Branch Jail where he was charged with 2 counts of lewd or lascivious behavior, each carrying a bond of $20,000.