Broward County

Church counselor charged with sexual battery of girl, 14

A youth counselor for middle school students at the Church by the Glades in Coral Springs is accused of preying on an underage girl that he met at a church camp last summer.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office said 19-year-old Sylvester Perrone engaged in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl for five months beginning last September. Investigators said the sex acts took place at the church and at the girl’s home.

“Over time he gained her trust,” said Joy Oglesby, spokesperson for the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “He found some vulnerabilities in this middle schooler and took advantage sexually.”

BSO said Perrone met the girl when she attended the United Camp 2015 last summer. BSO said the girl’s parents brought evidence of the crimes to detectives who arrested Perrone.

“We do understand that this is a sanctuary,” Oglesby said. “They sent her to a church summer camp and they worship at the place where she was violated. We do understand that there is a level of hurt and mistrust that goes with that.”

The Church by the Glades released a statement, which reads:

“The pastors and leaders of Church by the Glades were saddened to learn about the alleged criminal and sinful behavior on the part of one of our attendees. Our first and greatest concern is the wellbeing, healing and protection of the victim and family. It is our desire, as always, to fully cooperate with the authorities involved in this investigation to see that justice is served.”

Perrone is being charged with eight counts of sexual battery and is being held at the Broward County Jail.