Florida man sentenced to 12 years on molest convictions

·2 min read

Jul. 27—ANDERSON — A Florida man has been sentenced to 12 years after pleading guilty to two felony counts of child molesting.

Mitchell B. Gaunt, 61, of Apopka, Fla., was sentenced Wednesday in Madison Circuit Court Division 3 by Judge Andrew Hopper to a 12 year sentence, with eight years executed and four years suspended to formal probation.

The Indiana sentence will be served consecutively to a sentence in Florida that Gaunt is currently serving.

Deputy Madison County Prosecutor Dan Kopp negotiated the plea agreement with Gaunt.

Gaunt was arrested on suspicion of molest of a young family member in Anderson. Prior to his arrest on the Madison County charges, he served a prison sentence in Florida on charges related to sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Gaunt was charged with two counts of felony molest of a child younger than 14 for incidents that took place in 2018.

According to the affidavit, investigators learned from the child, who now is 12 years old, that there were two alleged incidents that took place while Gaunt was babysitting. The forensic interview with Kids Talk did not take place until July 9, 2020.

The first incident took place right before her birthday and the second before Thanksgiving.

"She remembers sitting on his lap and that they had just watched an adult Barbie makeover video," the affidavit said.

After touching the child during the first incident, she made an excuse to get away.

"She was afraid and mentioned not wanting to ruin the relationship between (Gaunt) and her mom," the affidavit said.

The second time, the child was showing Gaunt some functions of the Minecraft video game.

On Aug. 5, 2020, Holtzleiter was able to make phone contact with Gaunt. Gaunt confirmed he sometimes resided in Anderson and babysat for the child's single mother.

When confronted with the details of the alleged molest, Gaunt asked what specifically the child said happened.

"He added that he didn't recall anything," the affidavit said. However, Gaunt admitted there may have been some accidental touching during roughhousing that could have been interpreted as molestation.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.