By Margaret Baker, SunHerald
A Harrison County grand jury found enough evidence to indict former Biloxi city official Fredrick Cliff Kirkland on nine sex crime charges.
Kirkland, 68, was initially arrested on Dec. 17, 2019, on two counts of touching of a child for lustful purposes.
After hearing evidence in the case, the grand jury indicted him on additional charges involving three alleged minor victims under the age of 16.
The crimes occurred at different time between August 1, 2013, and July 31, 2017, the records say.
Kirkland remains free on a $100,000 bond. He faces up to 15 years in prison on each count, and his next court date is Jan. 19.
Biloxi police first arrested Kirkland four days after a school supervisor reported that a minor girl told her Kirkland had allegedly been touching her sexually from the time she was in fifth grade until she was a senior in high school.
The same minor identified two other minors Kirkland had allegedly molested.
Investigators conducted a forensic interview with all three minors at the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
All of the teens told authorities Kirkland had touched them sexually during encounters with him at his home on Thomas Street in Biloxi.
One of the teens said Kirkland had repeatedly touched her sexually at different times in an upstairs room at his Biloxi home.
A second teen told investigators that during one such encounter she pretended to be sleeping when Kirkland touched her inappropriately.
Another teen told investigators, for example, she woke up one time at Kirkland’s home to find him lying right beside her and touching her sexually.
A TOP BILOXI OFFICIAL
Kirkland started working for Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich as a member of his transition team after his election in May 2015.
Gilich later hired Kirkland to fill a new position as Civic Innovation and Development Office in the city at an annual salary of $96,000. His salary increased after that.
After Kirkland’s arrest, Gilich called the charges against Kirkland “shocking” and assured the community that the man he had called a friend for over 30 years would not receive “any special treatment” in his case.
Kirkland resigned a short time after his arrest last year.
Kirkland, speaking through his attorney, Keith Pisarich, denied any wrongdoing and said he looked forward to defending himself “in the proper forum.”
The Sun Herald does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes.