A 54-year-old man is accused of sexual battery on a child younger than 12 years old. According to a Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office offense report, the reported abuse began when the child was 4 and lasted until age 8; the child has not had contact with Searfoss for about six years.

According to the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office report, which has been redacted due to the age of the alleged victim, Paul Edward Searfoss coerced the child, who was known to Searfoss, into having sexual contact with him.

The child, accompanied by the child’s mother, first disclosed details of the alleged abuse to law enforcement during an Oct. 24 interview, and provided a written statement.

According to the WCSO offense report, when the WCSO investigator was unsuccessful in reaching Searfoss by phone or at his residence, he was able to speak on Sept. 15 with Warden Allen at Searfoss’s place of employment, Wakulla Correctional Institute.

According to the report, Allen told WCSO that Searfoss had called into work and said he would be out for a while to take care of some business, explaining that Searfoss found a WCSO detective’s business card and knew of the nature of the allegation. Allen told the investigator no one had been able to reach Searfoss for a couple of days and he had been a no-show.

Members of WCSO went to Searfoss’s home to conduct a welfare check, finding a burn pit in the back yard that was still smoldering and fresh cigarette butts in the ashtray on the front porch, but it was dark inside the home with the blinds closed.

The WCSO investigator reached an attorney, Fred Conrad, Esq., who said Searfoss had retained him as counsel and he would not be making any statements at that time.

The WCSO investigator presented the case on Sept. 21 to Assistant State Attorney Brian Miller’s Office, and Miller approved the arrest warrant for Searfoss. Searfoss was arrested Sept. 22 on the child sexual battery charge.

The Wakulla News is withholding other details due to the age of the alleged victim.

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