Winter Haven man sexually abused child for at least 7 years, detectives say

A Winter Haven man has been accused of sexually abusing a child for several years, detectives said.

Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office interviewed the child, who said she was sexually battered and molested by 42-year-old Max Hernandez, according to officials. The abuse started when she was four years old, and occurred through the age of 13, they said.

The crimes occurred at two different locations in Polk County, and nearly daily when she was between the ages of 7 and 9, officials said. Hernandez showed her a movie displaying two men “raping” a woman, and told the child that it could happen to her, detectives added.

Detectives interviewed Hernandez, who admitted to sexually abusing her from the time she was about four of five years old and through the age of 12, they said. He admitted to specific sexual batteries and molestations, but didn’t recall all the sexual activities between the two, detectives said.

Hernandez also said the pornographic film was for “educational purposes to manipulate her into thinking it was okay,” officials said. Hernandez was arrested Friday on sexual battery charges and displaying harmful material to the child. 

"Hernandez is a predator, plain and simple. He groomed and lied to this child and repeatedly raped her,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to hold him accountable. This is an important reminder for parents to be involved with their children and watch for changes in their moods. Communication is the key to helping to protect your children."