James Lee McIntire, a 70-year-old resident of 71 Florida Park Drive, was booked at the Flagler County jail on Wednesday on a charge of molesting a 15-year-old girl in his charge over months at his home and on his boat. He had also allegedly encouraged her to drink alcohol. He posted bail on $50,000 bond and was released.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office reported that the girl’s mother revealed tat McIntire had molested her, too, when she was 14, some 27 years ago. She did not report the matter at the time, opting to handle the matter within the family. When she spoke of it to McIntire’s wife, the report states, Mrs. McIntire did not believe her–a common problem within families, when a victim of sexual abuse reports the crime to a family member.
The girl’s mother “did not think the same thing would happen to her daughter when she sent her to live with Mr. and Mrs. McIntire,” according to McIntire’s arrest report.
He faces a second-degree felony charge of lewd and lascivious molestation, which, on conviction, carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Plea deals in such cases, involving the level of offenses and individuals with relatively clean records, typically result in less prison time followed by sex-offender probation, but almost inevitably result in a designation of the individual as a sex offender, for life. There are instances of molestation charges getting reduced to felony child abuse, a third-degree felony, which then eliminates the sex-offender designation and significantly reduces the exposure to prison or the length of probation.
The 15-year-old girl had been staying with the McIntires every summer for 10 years. She was staying with them for months during the 2019 school year as her mother was getting resettled from up north to Palm Coast. It was then that several incidents allegedly unfolded, to the point that the girl would go to Holland Park after school, stay there until 8 p.m., then head to the McIntire’s, and lock her bedroom door. The alleged victim first reported the incidents to her diary, citing 13 such instances. Worried about adding stress on her mother, the girl initially did not want to burden her with the matter.
She did so in June 2020, at which time the mother confronted McIntire, who, according to the arrest report, “admitted that he touched [the girl] inappropriately.” He “turned white” in front of his own wife, and said “he cannot undo what he did.” McIntire then researched Florida law “and was prepared for getting arrested,” according to the report.
McIntire “fled” Palm Coast for a a period, then returned. Detectives went to McIntire’s home on Dec. 16, when, they reported, he said the case “wasn’t as bad as…” (the sentence is not completed in the arrest report. But he said “multiple times he was sorry for what he has done” and apologized.
The alleged victim detailed incidents in an interview with the Child Protection Team, describing how on at least two occasions McIntire had attempted to have her drink alcohol. After mistaking the drinks for sodas, the girl put them aside and did not drink.
“Often these are difficult cases to make and I am very proud of our investigative team for building the case and arresting him before he could hurt this child any further,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “It is sickening that he would take advantage of this child while she was living in his house without her mother present. I hope this child is able to get the help she needs to recover as crimes like this can
have lifelong effects.”
McIntire has lived at the Florida Park Drive house since 2003. He’d previously lived at 8 Riverina Drive for 13 years, after moving to Palm Coast from 153 Cove Street in Massapequa, N.Y., in 1991.