Former Yacht Club Commodore Accused Of Molestation

Thomas Garrett, 71, Is Retired San Diego Firefighter, Helped Found Event For Make-A-Wish Foundation

A retired San Diego firefighter and former Coronado Yacht Club commodore was arrested Friday and is accused of molesting two children.

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Thomas Garrett, 71, was a one-time commodore of the Coronado Yacht Club and was at one time involved with an independent external fundraising event that benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.

The arrest came after an 11-month investigation.

"The last 11 months have just been extremely excruciating," said Chula Vista resident Amy Kinsey, who said she wanted to be the voice for her daughters who are too young to speak out for themselves.

Kinsey, a mother of three, said last March she told police that Garrett, her neighbor, had been molesting her daughters for months.

"I've been waiting for the police to arrest him and I've been living like in fear for the other kids that live in the neighborhood," she said.

According to an arrest warrant obtained by 10News, Garrett was arrested and charged with three counts of lewd acts on a child under 14. Two of counts are considered "forcible," according to the warrant.

In the warrant, one of the girls told police, "she sat on his lap and he began hugging and kissing her on the lips." After that, the accusations in the warrant become too explicit to list.

"It was extremely, extremely painful," said Kinsey.

Garrett's wife refused to comment when 10News spoke with her at their Chula Vista home.

The Coronado Yacht Club, where Garrett had served as commodore and docks a boat, issued this statement that read in part, "This is a tragic situation for all parties involved."

Garrett helped found the "Amazing Race for Children's Wishes," which is staged annually by the three Coronado-based yacht clubs benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is no longer involved with that event.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation released the following statement to 10News, which read in part, "Mr. Garrett is not a volunteer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego, nor has he ever been."

Kinsey said police told her it took nearly a year to arrest Garrett because the investigation took time.

"We just want to make sure to try and get this guy off the streets because we don't want any more victims," said Kinsey. "That is our main concern… we don't want any other families to be put through this."

Garrett is being held on $350,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

He faces state prison time and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life if he's convicted of the felony charges noted in the arrest warrant.

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