JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A “local church youth group leader” was arrested Saturday on eight counts of sexual battery, accused of molesting two victims years ago, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said in a news release on Tuesday.
Gregory Norton, 58, was identified as the suspect, and warrants for his arrest were issued Friday.
On Monday, Aug. 7, JSO said it became aware of “allegations of misconduct.” Police said the suspect “sexually battered the victim, whom the suspect had met through church functions.”
That incident happened “years earlier” while the victim was a teen, JSO said.
Investigators began an “extensive investigation” and “interviewed multiple individuals,” which uncovered the identity of a second victim. In the case of the second victim, police said Norton “had sexually molested the victim years prior.”
In a heavily redacted arrest report obtained by Action News Jax, a Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) abuse hotline tip from 2018 was located that included “Gregory Norton” as a subject. The victim’s name was redacted.
The report said that the “tip was screened out due to it not meeting statutory guidelines and the tip appeared to not have been relayed to any other agency.”
In a separate arrest report referring to another victim on Aug. 7, 2023, the Federal Bureau of Investigations forwarded a report to JSO’s special assault unit. In it, the report described sexual abuse between an unknown victim (redacted) and Norton, who was 38 years old when the abuse began.
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The report continues by stating that sexual acts occurred between Norton and the victim in Norton’s vehicle, at his residence, and at a bakery owned by Norton. All of these locations were in Jacksonville.
About a month ago, the victim called Norton and confronted him about the abuse. “At the conclusion of the phone call, the victim sent Norton a text message telling him to turn himself into authorities,” the report went on to say.
More disturbing details in the arrest report state that Norton worked as a nurse at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Again, while the report is heavily redacted, details of two complaints made within the hospital were investigated. Most notably was another nurse “observing Norton in an off-duty capacity in the room of a juvenile patient. The nurse advised they both appeared surprised when they were caught and that the behavior was described as inappropriate,” the report went on to say.
Baptist Health Jacksonville released the following statement:
“We are deeply committed to the safety of children and families, and our practices reflect our unwavering commitment to thier well-being. We are fully cooperating with 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.”— Baptist Health Jacksonville
At one point, Norton worked at Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene, and an alleged incident happened there. The church released the following statement:
“Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene believes that the safety and care of children and youth is among the church’s most sacred responsibilities; as such, the church has been fully cooperating with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office and is committed to continuing to do so.”— Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene
Norton’s most recent place of employment, Cancer Specialists of North Florida, said he no longer works there and released the following statement:
“Cancer Specialists of North Florida (CSNF) has been caring for North Florida patients for over 30 years. Our mission is to provide comprehensive treatment to patients 18-years-of-age and older who are battling cancer and blood disorders. Cancer Specialists of North Florida remains fully committed to this mission.
"We are aware of the allegations made against Gregory Norton, who is no longer employed by our company. We have not been contacted by law enforcement regarding the pending charges.
"Our top priority is and always will be the safety and well-being of both our patients and their families."— Cancer Specialists of North Florida
Norton is currently being held on $4 million bond.
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.