Police Search for Man Accused of Touching 12-Year-Old Girl Inappropriately

Police say they are searching for a man accused of touching a 12-year-old girl inappropriately.

"Yeah, it's awful you know something like this happen in Atlantic City," said Jian Chen.

His family is one of many on high alert while at the beach in Atlantic City. Police are asking them to look out for a man wanted for allegedly groping a young girl while she was in the water.

"We do come here often and never had any problems. We keep an eye on our kids and make sure they don't go far away from us ," said Chen.

According to police, happened July 11th just after 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon on the Annapolis Avenue section of the beach. Police just released a sketch of the suspect this week after getting a good description from the victim who also says he has several freckles on his back. The 12-year-old girl was swimming with a friend when they noticed the man starting and getting closer to them. The girl says he first swam under water and grabbed her thigh. Minutes later, the girls says he swam under again, this time behind her and grabbed between her legs. She screamed and went to tell her mom, according to police.

"12-year olds are old enough to be in the water themselves up to their waist deep. But now we have to keep an eye on the 12-year olds to watch out for predators on the beach and it shouldn't happen," said Malia Asthappan.

She's now watching her children even more closely. So is Obatala Sonnebeyatta here with his wife, children and friends.

"It's kind of scary but one thing we make sure is that at all times we are able to see them and kind of keep them together in the same location. We try to keep them at a good angle and hope and pray that nothing happens," he said.

Police don't believe what happened was an accident. Witnesses allegedly told them the water wasn't crowded at the time.

If you have a possible identity of the man in the sketch, please contact Detective Neil Kane at 609-347-5766 or any personnel from the Atlantic City Police Department Criminal Investigations Section.

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