VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL – A Holly Hill man affiliated with a local remote-control car racing organization has been charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl at a Daytona Beach-area RC racing track, and Volusia sheriff’s detectives are investigating whether he has victimized any other children.
The suspect, 33-year-old Joseph Bruce, was previously accused of molesting another young girl in Holly Hill, but the case was not prosecuted due to lack of evidence and cooperation.
In the latest case, detectives with the VSO’s Child Exploitation Unit were notified last Friday that the victim’s parents had discovered a sexually explicit text conversation with Bruce on their daughter’s cell phone. They immediately notified Port Orange police, who notified the Sheriff’s Office that the texts referred to an incident at the Strickland RC Raceway at 1670 Strickland Range Road, in Daytona Beach, a Volusia Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction.
According to authorities, Bruce, an active board member at the Raceway performing track maintenance and car repairs, began texting the victim earlier this month. The victim told detectives the conversation became sexual in nature and within days led to an incident of sexual abuse inside a trailer at the RC track. Later, Bruce also sent the victim explicit photo and video material and discussed her performing more sex acts on him in the future.
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Bruce was arrested Tuesday night on a warrant charging him with lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, two counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor and promoting sexual performance of a child. He is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail on $260,000 bail pending his first appearance.
In December, Holly Hill police filed a charging affidavit with the State Attorney’s Office accusing Bruce of sexual battery and lewd or lascivious conduct with another juvenile female victim who disclosed that Bruce made her perform a sex act on him. That case was not prosecuted after the victim’s mother did not support her allegations, and her statements could not be proven.
Today, additional charges against Bruce are possible as detectives search for any other potential victims. Anyone who may have been a victim or who has additional information to provide is urged to call the Child Exploitation Unit at (386) 323-3574.