JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Early last month, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said it was made aware of allegations of misconduct by a church youth group leader, Gregory Norton, who also once worked as a nurse at a Jacksonville children’s hospital.
Norton, 58, was accused of sexually molesting a teen that he met through functions at Oak Hill Church: Church of the Nazarene, according to JSO. The incident reportedly happened years earlier in connection with the Westside church located on Old Middleburg Road.
On Saturday, Norton was arrested and is accused of eight counts of sexual battery from two separate incidents that happened more than a decade ago.
JSO said during its investigation, which included multiple interviews, an alleged second victim was also identified. That alleged victim said Norton made unwanted sexual contact after Norton met them while working as a nurse at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Norton has not worked for the hospital since 2008, Wolfson said in a statement.
“We are deeply committed to the safety of children and families, and our practices and policies reflect our unwavering commitment to their well-being. We are fully cooperating with the JSO’s investigation of this individual, who has not been an employee since 2008. Our hearts go out to those impacted by these unacceptable actions,” a Wolfson hospital spokesperson wrote in a statement.
According to his arrest report, Norton was known to visit the hospital and spend time with patients when he was off duty and was investigated in 2003 after someone came forward to make a complaint against him. That complaint was deemed “unfounded,” a former hospital supervisor told JSO.
Despite warnings from his supervisors to stay away from the hospital when he was not working, in 2008 he was seen in the room of a young patient, JSO said, and the nurse who found them said they both appeared surprised when they were caught. The behavior was described as inappropriate, a hospital employee told JSO, and Norton resigned after a complaint was filed.
Norton was recently working at Westside Baptist but left the church after the allegations surfaced.
In a statement, Westside Baptist said it is cooperating fully with the police investigation.
“Westside is fully committed to ministering in a safe and responsible manner to all our children and youth. We have strong zero-tolerance policies with regard to any form of child molestation or neglect,” the church said in a statement. “Our church will have no further comments regarding this matter, which we believe is being adequately handled by law enforcement.”
Oak Hill Church was not immediately available for comment.
Anyone having any additional information in relation to the reported crimes is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.
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https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/09/26/jacksonville-church-youth-group-leader-accused-of-8-counts-of-sexual-battery/ Former Wolfson Children’s Hospital nurse, Jacksonville church youth group leader accused of 8 counts of sexual battery