By NICK WATSON
A man accused of violating the Georgia sex offender law allegedly signed for his business license with a false name, according to documents obtained by The Times Wednesday.
The business was located in the same building with a children’s learning facility.
Endrick Joseph Torres, 39, of Bethlehem, who owned Love is All You Knead doughnut and ice cream shop on the Gainesville square, was arrested by Gainesville Police Tuesday, June 18.
Torres was charged with first-degree forgery and violation of the Georgia sex offender law.
According to the forgery warrant, Torres allegedly “did knowingly make a false writing by signing a business license in a false name of Endrick Ordonez.”
Torres also allegedly did “knowingly maintain a business located within 1,000 feet of a young learning facility or an area where minors congregate in violation of Georgia sex offender laws” and is required to register as a sex offender, according to the other warrant.
Chief Jay Parrish said there were no new charges Wednesday, and the learning facility referenced in the warrant was Waldorf & Wonder.
“When you look at this location, there are a number of different businesses here, and those businesses do involve children … He is operating that business within the same confines of even a child development center located inside this facility,” Gainesville Police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said Tuesday.
Police were alerted Monday, June 17, that Torres was allegedly using an alias and was a convicted sex offender.
According to a court report from Richmond County Supreme Court in New York, Torres pleaded guilty in September 2014 to sexual abuse in the first degree and was sentenced to a year in jail.
In the facts of that case, Torres was reportedly groping young girls while serving as a counselor at a children’s day camp.
“In August 2013, the defendant and children from the camp were on a bus trip when the defendant arranged for child one to sit with him in the back of the bus. He told her to open her legs and he touched her vagina above her clothes,” according to the New York court report.
The girl was 10 years old.
A second girl came forward after a story was published in a local newspaper, according to the report.
Torres was listed on the sex offender registries for New York, Georgia and Florida, and aliases listed include Endrick Torres Ordonez.
Holbrook called the arrest a classic example of community policing based on relationships with the business sector downtown.
“They were able to bring forth some very helpful information to us, and we were able to ultimately make this case based off that information,” Holbrook said.
Once he heard the news of Torres’ criminal history, Claude Tatro initiated plans to evict him from Main Street Market in downtown Gainesville. Tatro co-owns Pharmacon Nuclear Inc., which possesses all of Main Street Market. Torres’ doughnut and ice cream shop fills the space in the front portion of the building. On Wednesday the shop’s signage was being removed.
“To say that I was shocked and amazed to hear this disclosure is putting it mildly,” Tatro said.
“He has no business being in a building that houses a bookstore, which has frequent visitations of children, and a Waldorf & Wonder academy that inculcates the love of learning into little ones.”
Torres opened Love Is All You Knead on Dec. 15, 2018.
Seeing the potential success an ice cream and doughnut shop would have in Main Street Market, and not knowing his criminal history, Tatro decided to take a risk on Torres.
“He had the promotional talents that would be an asset to the community,” Tatro said.
Torres was quick to immerse himself in the community once he opened his business. He took an active role in the Gainesville Business Coalition and parked his Love Is All You Knead food truck at several of the square’s events.
The Gainesville Business Coalition permanently removed Torres from the organization upon learning about his felonious background.
The coalition offered a statement, claiming that the members were unaware of his criminal history because of his aliases. Torres also went by Endrick Ordonez and Endrick Lekay.
“We urge anyone who has witnessed any questionable behavior on his part to alert the authorities,” the coalition said. “We want to assure the community, our affiliates and sponsors that our intention is to maintain the highest standards of community responsibility.”
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office warrant unit and resources from the Department of Homeland Security aided police in the case. Parrish said the federal agency was involved “to verify immigration status.”
“We wanted to ensure that he was taken in a safe and secure location, one in which we obviously would have the upper hand. We did have a number of officers on the square. We’ve been waiting for him to arrive at this location,” Holbrook said.