Peter Crane Lemming, a child abuse investigator with Florida’s Department of Children & Families (DCF), has been arrested on three counts of child sexual abuse. Police received a report from the local emergency room stating two 5-year-old girls, had allegedly been sexually abused. The Herald-Tribune reports:
Crane Leming was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a victim younger than 12, and one count of sexual assault with a victim under 12. He remains in the Sarasota County jail without bond.
The two victims told investigators Crane Leming touched their genitals underneath their clothing. One of the victims told police she touched Crane Leming’s genitals.
DCF was quick to denounce Lemming’s alleged crimes while also establishing that they had never received any complaints about his work:
Terri Durdaller, a spokeswoman for DCF, said in a statement that if the allegations are true, they “betray the trust and confidence that all Floridians have in our Department’s employees.”
According to Durdaller, Crane Leming passed a pre-employment background investigation, and had never been the subject of any complaints or investigations “related to his work at the department.”
Emerging details of the allegations paint a disturbing picture that shows how Lemming was allegedly able to take advantage of his victims:
The victims reportedly said they frequented his home to play games on his tablet computer, and to play with a puppy he had recently purchased.
North Port Police Chief Kevin Vespia said Crane Leming denied the accusations during an interview with Detective Mary Thoroman, who was assigned the case.
Durdaller, the DCF spokeswoman said the agency is committed to assisting with the investigation and has removed Lemming from all duties. Given his long tenure with the department and extensive contact with children, DCF also announced the following:
The agency is reviewing his cases “to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families involved.”