ORLANDO, Fla. - Two women were arrested on charges of trying to thwart an investigation into a child sex crime, Orlando police said Wednesday.
Natasha Douglas and Nichelle Taylor are accused of tampering with the investigation into the case of Antonio Thomas, 32, who was arrested in August on charges of sexual battery on a child under 12, lewd or lascivious molestation, child abuse and other charges.
The victim told detectives that Thomas sexually abused her more than five times, police said.
The women tried to persuade the victim to change her story, police said.
Police said Taylor, who is a relative of the victim, did not show up for several interviews at police headquarters. Police also said that through their investigation, OPD’s Special Victims Unit learned that Taylor and Douglas were attempting to thwart prosecution of Thomas.
“This child has now been victimized by several people in her life and we won't stand for that,” police said in a news release.
Investigators said that Taylor knew about the abuse but never reported it.
“She basically opened her, the victim, up to future victimization by not reporting it, and then the conspiracy between the two individuals to stop this from happening, only further reinforces the fact that they allowed this victimization to continue," Tami Edwards with the Orlando Police Department said.
Douglas has been charged with tampering with a witness and Taylor has been charged with accessory after the fact to capital felony, harassing a witness and failure to report child abuse.
Police said they are looking into other family members who might have participated in the tampering of the investigation.