Clearwater police have charged an 18-year-old Lake County man with battery in connection with a Friday night incident involving a 6-year-old girl in a restroom at Westfield Countryside Mall.
Ricky Blake Thompson of Umatilla was identified from a tip as the man from the surveillance photos from inside Macy’s near the lower-level restrooms, detectives said. Detectives contacted him Monday morning and he came to the station voluntarily later in the day.
The incident happened about 8 p.m. Friday inside the women’s restroom at Macy’s at the mall, located at 27001 U.S. 19 N. in Clearwater, police said. The girl was inside the restroom when a male between 19 and 25 years old forced open the stall door, police said. He grabbed the girl, pushed her to the floor and tried to cover her mouth with his hand. She screamed and he let go and he exited the restroom, police said. She was not injured.
Thompson said he was at Macy’s on Friday night to pick up his young son from his estranged wife, detectives said. After two women and the child arrived, Thompson said he had to use the restroom. He said he mistakenly went into the women’s restroom and on the way out, the 6-year-old girl saw him from inside her partially open stall and screamed. Thompson told detectives he panicked and tried to put his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming.
During that process, he said, she fell to the floor. The girl was not injured.
Clearwater Police detectives continue to investigation into the case. Any decision on additional charges will come from the Pasco-Pinellas State Attorney’s Office.