SULFUR SPRINGS, Fla.- No matter who you ask, no one on North 13th Street in Sulfur Springs can believe their friend and neighbor, 26-year old Demetreius Morris, could be capable of sexually battering a 70-year-old woman inside a church less than a block from his home.
"It was sad because I've known him for a long time," said neighbor Kathy Strain. "I never expected anything like this out of him."
"I can't believe it, I mean he plays out here with the kids," said another neighbor Jaime Warner who says Morris visited her home last night.
Susan Kerr says she was one of Morris' close friends, a friend who'd often watch her three small children.
"He just doesn't seem like the kind of person who would do something like that," said Kerr. "The things he does with my kids, the way he checks on me when I'm walking down the street making sure my kids get to school every day, he just doesn't seem like that kind of person."
But tonight those friends are coming to the same realization, the man they knew as polite and respectful, may have had a much darker past. Police have charged Morris in last week's sexual battery of a 70-year-old woman after recovering D-N-A evidence off the elderly victim's bruised body.
Kerr was even more visibly shaken after finding out it wasn't the first time he's been accused. Morris was also charged in 2003 with molesting a 7 year old child according to police records.
"If I would have known that he messed with such a young girl, I probably would have never took my kids over there," said Kerr in tears. My daughter is 5. Had I have known, my kids wouldn't have been around him. Just finding that out is kind of crazy because I didn't know he had a prior arrest."
Other parents are also in shock with plenty of questions about how Morris was able to hide his past from so many.
"I can't believe it," said Warner. "I mean he plays out here with the kids. Just last night he was in my house, so that could have been me last night."
"I didn't know about the seven year old," said her neighbor Kathy. "So if he was already charged with a charge like this than why wasn't he listed as a sexual predator? Why was he within a 100 feed of a school... and 1000 feet of a church?"
Court record may shed light on those questions showing after his 2003 arrest, a judge allowed Morris to enter a diversion program for young, first time offenders. Following completion of the "Walker Program" the judge dismissed the case leaving virtually no trace of his previous alleged crime, and neighbors nine years later, in the dark over his past.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News