Students Arrested Were 17, 18 and 19 Years of Age, Dodged a Sex Crime
According to a report, three male students at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville were arrested in April for having sex with a female student on school grounds. The four students met up at a athletic field house on the high school campus. One of the male students filmed portions of the sexual activity that occurred. It appears the allegations came forth from the victim when she was being questioned about being late for class or asking for a “late” pass. Two of the young men went to the police station and were arrested. Another young man was arrested days later. They were all charged with Lewd or Lascivious Battery and also Lewd Battery with enticement of a person less than 16 years old to engage in any type of sexual activity. A conviction of either charge would have devastated these young men with incarceration and the lifelong requirement of sex offender registration. For several reasons, the State Attorney’s office exercised discretion and reduced these charges to misdemeanors with probationary sentences.
Victim Originally Stated She Was Forced Into Sex Only to Admit Later it Was Consensual
As is common in many sex cases a person who the arresting officers and detectives determine to be a victim later recants his or her story. In the above case, the female victim later stated the sex was consensual. One of the young men had recorded the acts on his cell phone. That defendant also had an additional felony charge of “making/printing or publishing computer pornography” which under Florida Law is a third degree felony. The young girl in this case was not of age to give or not give consent under Florida law; however, a supervisory prosecutor, after viewing the video contained on one defendant’s cellphone, determined that the young girl was not being forced into any participation by the three young men. As the case unfolded, the video, the recording of which was an felony charge, seems to have helped all of the young men with the prosecutor’s decision to not bring the felony sex charges.
Sex Charges Can Surface Years Later
Under Florida law a person can be arrested for allegations of sexual misconduct years, even decades after the alledged behavior. Most readers should be familiar with the multiple allegations against the popular comedian Bill Cosby. Several women have brought up incidents from years past and at least once case is reportedly going to trial. It is commonplace in Florida for a person with no criminal history to be arrested for sex crimes which supposedly occurred fifteen or twenty years prior. The worst situation is Capital Sexual Battery, meaning, at the time of the incident, the victim was less than 12 years of age with the accused being over 18 years of age. A person arrested on this charge is not entitled to a bond under Florida Law and is facing mandatory life imprisonment if convicted. This writer has seen victims come forward with very old allegations numerous times. The motivation of the victim coming forward years later varies. It can be for “closure” as directed by their counselor or psychologist, the taking away of a 13 year old’s cell phone, refusing to let a rebellious 14 yr. old date the 16 yr. old who has his license and a car, the backing out of a promise to buy a child a car or truck when they turn 16, or mom is finally divorcing the stepdad. Many times, other family members are aware of the allegations and families will try to just handle the matter internally without it getting out to law enforcement. Continue reading