Florida Christian assaulted ‘provocative’ eight-year-old
Sydney Allan Markland, above, who has a passion for ‘teaching people the Bible’, has been arrested for sexually assaulting a girl aged 8.
According to this report, Markland, 68 – who allegedly lured the girl into his home in July 2016 – told detectives that the child had been dressed “provocatively”.
After Markland, who goes by the nickname “Dread,” sexually battered his victim, told her not to tell anyone.
Detectives wrote in their arrest report that after the assault:
He kissed her on the cheek and read from the Bible.
The girl told a parent, who called law enforcement. DNA samples were collected from the victim’s and after several months, they proved to be a match with Markland.
Deputies said Markland told them that in his culture his actions were considered acceptable. He also said the child’s clothing and “actions” suggested consent, officials said.
In confessing to the crime, Markland said:
She was wearing provocative clothing. Her actions suggested that she was consenting to sexual contact.
Said neighbor Steve Sarju:
When she started running and crying with her pants down, I knew something was up. I know something was up but I was scared because he always had guns and I didn’t want to go up there.
Asked about the alleged assault, Markland’s brother said:
He’s a good person, all he does is teach people to read the Bible and stuff, that’s all I know about him.
Neighbors confirmed that Markland would preach to people, including children, when they walked by his home. Said neighbor Frank Ley.
Oh my gosh I can’t believe it, because I’ll be honest with you, he preaches the Bible, he knows it inside out. Everybody that walks by there will sit with him and pray, God is the light in our salvation, we always sit there, congregate two or three people at one time.
Markland is charged with an array of offences, including sexual assault on a victim under 12 years old, lewd and lascivious behaviour, and molesting a victim less than 12 years old.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office public information Officer Lauren Lettelier said authorities waited to make the arrest until they had a strong case.
Sometimes, these cases take longer to build so we have as strong of a case as possible, especially when it goes to trial. The DNA came back in November 2016.
Markland is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail.
Deputies said Markland could have more victims because he’s familiar with children in the neighborhood. Said Lettelier:
We don’t have any direct evidence to believe that he may have molested any other children, but he has not been truthful with us so we are still asking if anyone who could be a victim to come forward.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake