A Port Charlotte man was arrested on six counts of sexual battery Tuesday, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The call came in on July 27, reporting Joseph Griffin, 36, had been sexually assaulting the victim for several years in his home located on the 23000 block of Chimes Avenue in Port Charlotte.

The abuse had been occurring for years, since the victim was 12 or 13, according to an arrest affidavit. According to an arrest affidavit, she appeared “shy, traumatized and withdrawn” when speaking to law enforcement.

A family member found out about the allegations after getting an Instagram message from one of the victim’s friends who she had confided in.

Griffin was interviewed and arrested while he was working at the Applebee’s on Sandhill Boulevard in Port Charlotte. He reportedly admitted to sexual encounters with the victim that occurred approximately six times.

He reportedly said he was remorseful, felt guilty, and had begged God to help him stop. He was charged with six counts of sexual battery on a victim over 12 years of age but under 18.

Anyone with information related to a child being abused or neglected should report the information immediately. Tips can be sent to the Department of Children and Families or by calling CCSO at 941-639-0013.

People can also contact the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies (C.A.R.E.) at 941-627-6000. An advocate is available to speak 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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