A Florida woman was arrested on charges of sexually abusing a young child had served as a board member at a local organization dedicated to helping child abuse victims.
OCSO deputies served two warrants on Katrina Puri, 50, of Niceville, one for lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim less than 12 years old and the other for lewd and lascivious exhibition on a victim less than 16.
Puri is accused of abusing a then 5-year-old victim over a seven-month period in 2018, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.
A caregiver had reported noticing redness on the child during bath time as well as observing the child exhibiting sexual behaviors. The victim told the caregiver, and subsequently investigators, that Puri touched her inappropriately on a number of occasions, sometimes when she was clothed and sometimes when she was not, the release said.
During an interview Puri denied any sexual abuse took place.
Puri was a weekly volunteer for Children In Crisis from 2011 to 2015 and was recognized by CIC as an exceptional volunteer. Puri also served as a guardian ad litem during part of that time.
In 2018, she joined the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s board of directors. The volunteer board members can serve up to two three-year terms, according to ECCAC’s website. Puri is not listed as a member of the 2020-2021 board.
The arrest report states the allegations were received by the Florida Department of Children and Families on February 13, 2020. The victim identified Puri as “Tia, a mean girl,” according to the report.
She is being held in Okaloosa County Jail without bond.
Deputies have not specified Puri’s relation to the girl.