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Istachatta man accused of sexual battery on child

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

A laborer who previously pleaded guilty to child abuse charges was again behind bars Wednesday after officials say he molested a 6-year-old girl on multiple occasions.

Gary Hawkins, 32, of 27171 Townsend Blvd. in Istachatta faces a count of sexual battery of a child younger than 12. According to a sheriff's report, the girl told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified officials. A medical exam verified the girl's story, a report said, and Hawkins was arrested and taken to the Hernando County Jail, where he remained Thursday without possibility of bail.

Hawkins pleaded guilty to charges of child abuse last week after authorities say he severely beat his son in November. As part of the plea agreement, a formal finding of guilt against Hawkins was withheld.

Student, 11, arrested after bomb threat on bus

A Powell Middle School student was arrested Wednesday after threatening to blow up a school bus.

The 11-year-old boy, whose name the Times is withholding because of his age, was bragging on the school bus that he knew how to make the bus stop and he knew how to make a bomb. The bus driver overheard part of the conversation and pulled the bus over.

Upon questioning, the boy then told the bus driver, "I don't care, I'll blow the bus up," a report said. The driver notified authorities, who searched the bus for explosives but found none.

The boy was taken to the Hernando County Jail, where he was later released to his parents.

In separate cases, two charged with child abuse

Two Hernando County residents are accused of child abuse in unrelated cases.

Stephanie Williams, 32, of 27271 Warner Ave. in Hill 'n Dale faces a count of aggravated child abuse after officials say she hit a teenager on the head with an aerosol can and tried to choke her. The girl, 14, told Hernando County sheriff's deputies that the two began arguing after Williams insulted her father.

Williams said she was disciplining the girl for refusing to take a puppy outside and for swearing, but added that she never threw the can at the girl, a report said.

In an unrelated case, Spring Hill resident Brian Oakes Sr., 39, of 11359 Salters St. faces a count of child abuse after authorities say he beat up a 15-year-old boy and broke his nose because the boy signed a birthday card for the man's fiancee without reading it.

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