The Miami Herald recently reported on an alleged sexual assault of a mentally disabled woman inside a Publix breakroom. The accused man has been arrested. He was a Publix employee and has been a registered sex offender for 19 years. He allegedly molested a mentally disabled woman who was a co-worker. The assault is believed to have happened in the Publix breakroom, cites the Miami Herald.
John Utterback, 62, is a resident of Apopka. He has officially been fired from the Orange County Publix after his arrest on Tuesday night. He is facing two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on a disabled person. The bond is set at $10,150. Publix’s corporate office came forward with a statement on the incident, stating that they continue to work with local law enforcement.
“Publix takes this situation very seriously and upon learning about the allegations, we immediately investigated this matter and can confirm that Mr. Utterback is no longer employed with Publix Super Markets. Publix does perform pre-employment background checks to protect the safety and well-being of our associates and customers, and like many employers, our background screening processes have evolved over the past decade. We will continue to work with local law enforcement and fully support them throughout this investigation.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrest report states that the alleged victim’s mother spoke with Detective Margaret Keltz. The mother said that her daughter had the educational understanding of a second grader, remarking to the detective that her daughter is “unable to comprehend situations in order to make her own decisions.”
Palm Beach County court records show that Utterback pleaded guilty in 1999 to three counts of sexual battery on a person less than 12 years of age. These crimes happened in 1982, the report shows. At that time, Utterback was 26-years-old. His punishment for the crimes in 1999 was 15 years probation on each count.
Detective Keltz is cited as saying that the young woman was able to explain that Utterbock “touched her ‘boobs’ and ‘toti’ over her clothing with his hand.” She alleged that Utterbock was told to stop but he did not do so until another co-worker entered the break room. When that person left, she said, he resumed touching her. She told a coworker who told the woman’s mother and a supervisor at Publix.
“I was immediately able to identify that (she) is mentally disabled and often had to repeat or clarify my questions to her.”