At least four people saw a man's assault on two teen girls, police said. Wilton Manors Police spokesman Sgt. Chuck Howard, Kids in Distress CEO Mark Dhooge and neighbor Don Ruiz spoke about the incident.
At least four people saw a man sexually assault two teen girls at a Wilton Manors emergency shelter earlier this month, police said Wednesday.
"This is an isolated incident," said Sgt. Chuck Howard, Wilton Manors Police spokesman.
Howard said a witness came forward "a few days" after the incident that happened before dawn on Jan. 7 at Kids In Distress, an emergency shelter.
Howard said that with help from witnesses, police were able to identify the two teen victims staying at the shelter. He said the witnesses were other residents of the shelter.
Meanwhile, two employees were fired at the shelter for lack of supervision.
"The safety and care of our children on our campus is our number one priority," said Kids in Distress CEO Mark Dhooge.
He said the employees should have supervised the two teens at that time of night on a consistent, one-on-one basis.
"The girls were checked on periodically, however our staff did not provide continuous direct supervision," he added.
He said the two teens were taken advantage of, and he urged the public to help find the man behind the sexual assault.
"We are shocked and appalled and have taken appropriate measures to provide the appropriate follow-up in regards to forensic exams and counseling for these children," he said.
Dhooge, who has been with Kids in Distress for 19 years, says it has never had an incident like this one.
"I'm angry, I'm appalled at the level of hurt that these girls probably felt, " he said.
Police said there is surveillance video of the suspect, but not the sexual acts.
He said police were not going to immediately release the video, and that the video was "not very good."
"I hope they catch this guy," said Don Ruiz, who lives across the street from the shelter. "I keep an eye on things around here," he said, having lived off of NE 9th Avenue for six years.
Police on Tuesday released a sketch of the suspect. They added that he was possibly in the military and told the children that he recently lost his wife.
Anyone who knows the man or has information about him is asked to call police at 954-390-2165.
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