The son of infamous former Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall — whose 30-year reign ended after he was charged with kicking a black prisoner to death — was arrested on charges he molested an elementary school-aged child.
Douglas McCall, 64, was arrested Thursday at his Umatilla home. He’s being held at the Lake County Jail without bond.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the investigation began after the girl told her mother that McCall had touched her inappropriately and showed her sexually explicit videos involving children.
The agency later searched McCall’s home in Umatilla, seizing various electronic devices to be examined as part of the ongoing investigation, officials said.
Douglas McCall’s father was first elected sheriff in 1945. During his tenure, he kicked three American Indian children out of an all-white Mount Dora school, claiming they were black; arrested orange pickers who didn’t work; refused to lower a flag after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, claiming the flapping flag would damage the sheriff’s office building and shot two handcuffed black prisoners he said attacked him.
One of the prisoners was killed. The surviving prisoner said McCall forced them out of his car and deliberately shot both of them. McCall denied the charge, claiming he was attacked with a flashlight after stopping to change a flat tire.
He was charged with federal civil rights violations, but was not convicted.
McCall always denied being a racist — saying he was the victim of an unfair press.
“I never did anything illegal while I was in office … well, only one time,” he said in 1977.
McCall, while serving his first term, went to the home of a rape suspect’s relative to find information about the man’s whereabouts. He admitted to opening a letter from the suspect in the woman’s mailbox, to get his location.
His tumultuous reign ended in 1972, after he was charged with second-degree murder for kicking a black prisoner to death after the man refused to hand a paper plate over to jailers. McCall was eventually acquitted by an all-white jury in Ocala. He died in 1994, at 84.
In 2007, Lake County commissioners voted unanimously to change the name of a 2.5-mile stretch of road named after McCall that ran past the notorious lawman’s former home.
At the time, Douglas McCall asked commissioners to reject the petition.
“My father was investigated more times than the Kennedy assassinations, and they never found anything,” Douglas McCall said at the time. “He was a son of the Old South.”