Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer accused of molesting child

Reporter: Gabriella Bruni

A child, left alone at school with a trusted adult, is now leveling some very serious accusations. An 8-year-old girl says she was molested by a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer.

Neighbors say the allegations don't jibe with the man they've come to know. Anthony Tripoli is now charged with sexual battery. Port St. Lucie police say he inappropriately touched an 8-year-old girl several times while he tutored her at Morningside Elementary. "She is a bright young girl; she knew what was going on was wrong. She had the wherewithal to notify her parents. After several incidents took place, the father contacted SRO, and that is how our investigation began," states Officer Robert Vega.

The 68 year old was able to get inside the school because he was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and was the girl's reading tutor.

The organization released this statement: "Every volunteer is thoroughly screened through a series of background checks, references and interviews prior to his or her becoming a mentor. Professional staff reviews each match to monitor for safety, providing on-going support to children and volunteers."

Big Brothers Big Sisters and the St. Lucie County School Board tell us that Tripoli was not supposed to be left alone with the child, but, according to police, the alleged incidents happened when no one else was around.

Tripoli remains at the county jail with no bond as his shocked neighbors try to make sense of it all. "I'll be shocked if it true. I wish it were something else. I feel bad he's in jail," defends Michelle Wood.

According to the arrest affidavit, Tripoli initially denied the allegations, but, when police provided more details, he stopped talking and asked for an attorney.