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Gregory Norton was arrested Saturday, facing eight charges of sexual battery on minors. Reports show that Norton was reported at his nursing job for years.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Warning: Content in this story may be disturbing.
A new report reveals further details of the investigation into a Jacksonville church youth group leader and former children’s nurse who faces eight sexual battery charges for alleged abuse of two minors, spanning from 2002 to 2009.
Gregory Norton, 58, was arrested Saturday. Affidavits for his arrest describe incidents of the sexual abuse he’s accused of. But the reports also delve into his time as a nurse at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, detailing complaints of inappropriate and unsettling behavior during his time there from 2003 to 2008. And the report goes beyond decades past, with witnesses telling police that Norton has exhibited strange behavior with minors currently in his youth group at Westside Baptist Church.
He is currently being held on bond of $4,000,0024.
Accusations leading to sexual battery arrest
Reports show that Norton’s accusers met him at a youth ministry program.
One accuser told police the abuse took place at properties Norton owned, including two homes and two bakeries he owned at the time, as well as in his car. He said Norton “would not cease his advances until (he) gave in,” and plied him with gifts that could cost up to “a few hundred” dollars. This victim kept in contact with Norton throughout his life, and on Aug. 7, he attempted a recorded phone call with Norton.
On the phone call, he was “implying that Norton introduced him to sexual experiences, however he did not specifically say that.” Norton “went along with the conversation and did not make any objections.”
Evidence gathered by police led to Norton’s arrest on six sexual battery charges.
The second accuser also met Norton as a minor, while Norton was serving as a youth minister. He told police he did not come forward at the time because he was very close with Norton, viewing him as a father figure. When he completed therapy and realized “the depravity of the abuse he endured by Norton,” he tried to report what had happened to the Department of Children & Families, but they did not pursue the case.
He said that Norton started getting physical with him first through a back massage, which then escalated. The abuse continued after that.
The accuser told police he would firmly tell Norton “no,” but Norton did not listen, and would persist and make him feel forced.
Evidence in the second chase brought two additional charges of sexual battery.
The police officer who wrote the affidavit noted that the two accounts “display common themes, including but not limited to gift giving.”
One affidavit says Norton behaved inappropriately towards pupils in his youth group at Westside Baptist Church “recently” — including giving gifts to a teenage boy.
One mother told police that Norton was giving her son gifts. The teenager confirmed this with police.
Police also found evidence that Norton had been texting this boy and messaging him on Instagram, sometimes late at night. Norton denied this during an interview, but admitted to it once he was shown the evidence.
A mother of another youth group member told police a story her son had told her, in which teenagers were talking about sex in Norton’s car and he “joined the conversation and discussed having sex with the lights on vs. sex with the lights off.”
When Norton was arrested, police say his phone had approximately 100 photos of shirtless adolescent boys. Part of the contents of his phone are redacted from the affidavit; the reason for redaction is listed as “obsene material.”
Complaints at Wolfson
Norton’s career at Wolfson Children’s Hospital ended when he was reported in 2008 for inappropriate behavior and decided to resign, police said. By then, hospital staff had been raising red flags about him for years.
During the investigation leading to Norton’s arrest, he told police there had been complaints filed against him at the children’s hospital when he worked there.
Police found that in 2003, he was ‘accused of looking at the genitals of a patient who had ‘low IQ.'” The accusations were “serious enough to have him removed from the floor for six toe ight months.”
Norton’s supervisor at the time told police a patient’s mother had once reported Norton for touching her child’s penis. “Norton advised (the supervisor) he was checking a special type of pulse that involves touching the groin area,” the report says. At the time, the claim was investigated and Norton was not allowed to interact with children.
There was a trial within hospital management and he was cleared of wrongdoing and again allowed to work with children.
JSO obtained a written report on a 2007 complaint where Norton was flagged for “providing a massage to a patient that was not under his care.”
In 2008, a final complaint about Norton that would have had him fired prompted him to resign from Wolfson, a former colleague told police. He would often visit patients after work hours, staying at the hospital for three or four extra hours — “always young boys or teenage boys.”
At one point, while he was off-duty after work, Norton insisted that he bathe another nurse’s patient, according to police. The nurse said that was not necessary, but came back to find Norton finishing giving the patient a bath. “He was seen messaging the patient’s upper body,” the affidavit says. “The patient’s parents were not present at the hospital.”
The nurse also told police that she had heard Norton “continue to insist” that the boy donate sperm to save for later, “incase his cancer rendered him with the inability to reproduce.”
The nurse said she “found it old that he appeared to be so obsessed with the topic of the child’s sperm.”
After hospital administration was made aware of this complaint, Norton resigned.
In a statement, Executive Director of Corporate Communications at Baptist Health Cindy Hamilton wrote:
“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.”