Former police officer pleads guilty to Jacksonville sex crimes against two young girls

August 15, 2012

A 25-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff Office will now face up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to two Duval County felony sex crimes involving young girls. Richard Cannon pleaded guilty last week to Jacksonville attempted capital sexual battery and custodial sexual battery, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. One crime involved a girl under the age of 12 and the other victim was under the age of 18. Cannon was initially charged with 13 counts of various sex crimes in Jacksonville, but a deal was reached with the state to plead guilty to two of the crimes, the newspaper reported. He was arrested on these Duval County sex charges last year after victims told police of the attacks, which they said occurred between 2008 and 2011, the newspaper reported. Cannon resigned shortly after his arrest.

Following Cannon's plea in court, the prosecutor said the outcome was in the best interest of the victims because Cannon will be punished severely and the girls will not be forced into a trial where they would have to see Cannon and discuss the crimes again. This is common practice for the state, which would prefer to avoid putting sexual assault victims on the stand if possible. This also extends to depositions of child sex victims, depending on the prosecutor. Many times, if a defendant's Jacksonville criminal attorney takes the deposition of a child victim, all plea negotiations are off. This puts a defendant in a difficult spot, especially because in many Northeast Florida sex cases there is very little physical evidence - simply the word of the alleged victim versus the word of the defendant. A Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney will often need to hear what the victim has to say, but has to weigh that with the risk of being forced to trial in front of a jury - and juries often come into a sex crime involving a child assuming guilt, despite their inherent duty to be impartial.

This case is particularly problematic for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, having one of their own guilty of sex crimes involving young children. When Cannon, 48, is released from prison, he will have to register as a sexual predator for the rest of his life. Children are taught to trust people in certain professional roles - teachers, coaches and police officers, to name a few. Having one such as Cannon violate the public trust is a black eye for the entire sheriff's office, even though he is one of a couple thousand officers on the force. Sex crimes are treated differently than any other crimes in that the state broadcasts your whereabouts and criminal history any time you move to another home or apartment if you are a registered sexual offender or predator. The conditions also restrict where sex offenders can live in relation to schools and other places children congregate. The consequences are extremely serious and our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney is experienced in sex cases, having represented hundreds of clients facing these types of charges.

If you or a loved one needs a Sex Crimes Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Sex Crimes Lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.