Church volunteer arrested for sexual battery

Jail bars

A former volunteer at a Gainesville church was arrested last week on multiple charges of sexual battery.

According to a Gainesville Police Department (GPD) release, detectives traveled to Lakeland on July 6 and arrested Gabriel Hemenez, 28, for sexually abusing multiple minors. Hemenez was a volunteer/church member at Ignite Life Center from 2018-23.

The GPD Special Victims Unit (SVU) started the investigation into the sexual abuse on Feb. 7 when a victim reported that, while attending the Ignite Youth Internship in July 2021, Hemenez sexually abused him.

Become A Member

Mainstreet does not have a paywall, but pavement-pounding journalism is not free. Join your neighbors who make this vital work possible.

Gabriel Hemenez
Courtesy of GPD Gabriel Hemenez

GPD Detective R. Johnson’s investigation revealed that multiple minors were sexually abused by Hemenez during the Ignite Life Center’s Youth Internship, a month-long overnight camp, in July 2021.

On July 6, GPD detectives traveled to Lakeland and interviewed Hemenez, where he confessed to inappropriately touching three minors and one adult while volunteering and attending at the Ignite Life Center. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant and arrested Hemenez.

Hemenez was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of attempted sexual battery of a minor. The ongoing investigation may lead to additional charges.

GPD informed the Ignite Life Center, located at 404 NW 14th Ave. in Gainesville, of the investigation and arrest.

GPD is requesting any member of the community who may have additional information, or who may be a victim, to contact Johnson at 352-393-7656 or email

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeff Gehmann

Hopefully other prisoners will wipe that silly smile off his face! Needs long prison term in general population.