Fun Spot worker had inappropriate relationship with girl he met at theme park, deputies say
Updated On: Jul 16 2013 07:10:00 AM EDT
Orange County deputies arrested a 30-year-old theme park worker on allegations of starting a relationship with a young girl whom he met while she was on a school field trip.
Deputies said Cristobal "Chris" Garcia forged a budding relationship with the 13-year-old girl over a month-long period. The girl came to the family amusement park on a school field trip, and that's where she said Garcia gave her his number.
"When you put your kids on a ride, you're not thinking that one of the workers is going to approach your child like that," said Elizabeth Lewis, who brought her children to Fun Spot and never thought something like this could happen there.
Deputies said Garcia talked with the teen on Facebook, and then on Saturday he picked her up and took her to a nearby Chili's restaurant. That's where the girl said they "kissed with tongue" and she asked him to grab her butt, but he refused saying, "I want to wait until you are 18" because she told him she was 17. That was enough for deputies to arrest him on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a girl they say he should have known was underage.
"I think that he should be arrested for that," said Lewis. "When it comes to a child, you should know better than that."
Local 6 went by Garcia's house to ask him what he was thinking, but nobody answered the door.
However, his boss said he's always been a good employee. The park said it performed a background check on Garcia when he was hired in 2009, and found no reason he should not be employed to work with children.
Garcia worked as a ride operator at Fun Spot America in Orlando since 2009 and has never had any problems until now, said his employer. He remains employed until the park can conduct an internal investigation and determine what happened and why.
"We would just like to assure our guests that this is nothing that we take lightly," said Fun Spot Chief Operating Officer, John Arie Jr. "This is saddening for Fun Spot. We pride ourselves in our guest safety and employee relations, and this is the first time in 15 years that we've had anything like this happen to any of our employees."
His employer said Garcia had only missed two days of work and the park was unaware of the allegations until Local 6 brought it to officials' attention. After these allegations, Fun Spot plans to review its policies about how workers interact with customers.