Articles Posted in Sex Crimes in Jacksonville

A Jacksonville police officer is facing several criminal charges stemming from separate alleged incidents.  According to a report in the Florida Times Union, the officer of fourteen years is charged with grand theft, petit theft and official misconduct in Duval County.  Those charges are pending after allegations that the officer was paid for time he did not work in off-duty jobs.  Official misconduct and grand theft are both third degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison each and the petit theft is a first degree misdemeanor.  The State Attorney’s Office has not made a decision about filing those charges.  There is another allegation of sexual battery in Jacksonville that the prosecutor on the case has made a decision on.  The officer was accused of paying prostitutes to have sex with him while on duty.  One woman told police she was forced to have sex with the police officer, which is considered a sexual battery in Florida.  The State Attorney’s Office has decided not to file this charge because there is no reasonable probability of conviction.

When someone is arrested for any crime, the prosecutor’s office in that county has to make a decision on whether or not to file the charge.  In order for the police to make an arrest in Jacksonville, they must have “probable cause”.  This means, more likely than not, the accused committed a crime.  Once the case lands on a prosecutor’s desk, that prosecutor must decide whether or not they can prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt, which is a much higher standard than an arrest.  When someone is arrested for a felony in Duval County, which all sex charges are, the prosecutor’s office has a period of time to make a decision about what to do.  They can file the felony case as charged, drop the case if there is not enough evidence, or file the case as a misdemeanor.  Assistant state attorneys have a lot of discretion when deciding what to do and that is why it is so important to hire an experienced criminal attorney.  The Jacksonville criminal attorney can gather evidence and meet with the prosecutor to present your side prior to any charges being filed.

A sexual battery in Florida is defined as oral, anal or vaginal penetration, or union with, the sexual organ of another person or an object without the victim’s consent.  Consent is defined as knowing and voluntary, not coerced.  There are also different levels of sexual battery in Jacksonville.  If the accused sexually battered a victim without violence or physical force, the crime is considered a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a lifetime of being labeled a sex offender.  If the accused used violence or if the victim was physically incapacitated at the time, the sex crime is elevated to a first degree felony.  “Physically incapacitated” can mean asleep or even drunk, which is obviously subject to interpretation.  Often times, rape cases come down to a he said, she said.

A Jacksonville man accused of a heinous sex crime will be judged by a jury of his peers this coming August.  According to a report on news4jax.com, the man is accused of raping a woman who was pushing her child in a stroller in Bartram Park in February.  A warrant for sexual battery was issued for the man after his DNA was allegedly found on the woman after she was swabbed by a rape kit.  The woman also identified the man after being shown his picture in a police lineup.  The accused has a one million dollar bond for this Jacksonville sex charge.

When someone is arrested for a sexual battery, or any other sex charge in Duval County, they are going to get no bond or a bond so high it will be difficult to make.  When arrested on a warrant, the judge who signed the warrant will usually attach a bond amount to the warrant.  On rare occasions, the judge will leave the bond blank for the judge in first appearance court to set.  No matter what the bond amount is, a Jacksonville bond attorney can motion the court to set a reasonable bond or reduce a high bond.  There are two reasons to set monetary bonds in criminal cases.  The first is if the person is a flight risk.  If the accused does not live in Jacksonville, their appearance bond will be set higher.  The second reason bonds are set high is if the judge deems the accused to be a danger to the community.  When it comes to sex accusations, most judges will set a very high bond even though nothing has been proven in the case.

In the above case, the woman was examined and a rape kit was used.  A medical exam is conducted which includes a whole body check, including documenting of any and all physical injuries and the collection of physical evidence. If the patient reports to law enforcement, the evidence is provided to the appropriate law enforcement agency to be used in criminal prosecution. If the patient chooses not to report, the evidence is stored by law enforcement for a period of time.  The people who examine alleged victims only examine alleged victims.  Their job is to conduct the examinations and to testify for the prosecution in criminal cases.  As an experienced sex crime attorney, I have had many sexual battery cases that include these rape examination reports.  Even if there is no physical injury, not even redness on the woman, the examiners will testify that “most of the time” there is no physical evidence in rape cases.  And, they say, just because there is no physical evidence doesn’t mean there wasn’t an assault.

A man from Ponte Vedra Beach, along with seventeen others, was arrested on various sex charges in Polk County recently.  According to a report in on First Coast News, Polk County initiated Operation April Fools, which is a sting to catch sex predators.  Detectives posed as minors, or guardians of minors, trying to seduce men into coming to meet the minor for sex.  The news reports that some men brought birth protection and drugs to a house they thought housed a child waiting for sex.  Some men allegedly asked for pictures from the “child” and many sent nude pictures of themselves.  The men were arrested, in total, for over 100 sex or sex related crimes in Florida.

Almost every month, counties in Florida set up these stings, often referred to as “traveler” stings.  Local police set up an online advertisement, often times on Craigslist, with a general title not specifying the person posting is a child.  Once a man contacts the poster, the sex detective posing as a child will message back to the man telling him they are a child.  Most times, they ask if the man minds being with a younger person.  This first messaging contact is all recorded to be used in the future prosecution.  The conversations then move to cell phones with back and forth texting. These dialogues are also recorded for further use by law enforcement.  Text messaging is where photographs are sent back and forth.  The police even have pictures of the “minor” ready to send. These pictures are of a younger looking adult so the men don’t get get spooked. After the back and forth texting, some agencies set up a phone call with the suspect.  Eventually, a meeting is scheduled and as soon as the man shows up, they are arrested.

Law enforcement usually rents a house in a residential neighborhood for the meetings.  They set up video cameras outside and inside the house.  The men are filmed driving up to the house and walking to the door.  A young girl, or boy, will answer the door and as soon as the man walks in, they are thrown to the ground by police officers and handcuffed.  The men are then taken to a room that is set up with a video camera and are read their rights.  If the men don’t invoke their right to remain silent, they begin to answer questions about the situation and why they were there.  After the interview, the men are taken to jail.

Clay County Police conducted a recent sting, or set-up, that has led to multiple sex related charges and arrests, according to an article in The Florida Times Union.  Eleven total men were arrested at the beginning of March, some of them involved in law enforcement.  The charges range from soliciting for prostitution to battery on a law enforcement officer.  Contrary to what was reported in the newspaper, it appears that none of the men were arrested on any sex crimes related to children.  All of the arrests occurred on Black Creek bike trail in Fleming Island.

The majority of the arrests were solicitation for prostitution, which is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida.  The men are accused of asking an undercover police officer to engage in an “indecent or obscene” act for some compensation.  It is an interesting charge because all of men, according to the reports, asked the officer to engage in sex but offered no money.  It is common for the police, vice units usually, to set up these stings.  Often times, these stings take place in public parks where men sometimes meet.  When the police get enough complaints about this activity, the result is the implementation of these stings.  Even though the men were there for consensual adult sex, the prostitution charge can ruin their lives, both with family and with work.

One man was charged with Simple Battery in Clay County.  Battery, according to Florida Statute, is defined as intentionally touching someone against their will or intentionally causing someone bodily harm.  The man allegedly touched the undercover officers genitals while engaged in conversation in the park.

A former teacher a Nease High School has been arrested for two sex crimes in St. Johns County, according to an article in the Florida Times Union.  The physical education teacher, who is 28 years-old, is accused of having sexual contact with a 17 year-old student at her home two separate times.  Even though the alleged victim is the same person, if the acts happened on two completely separate occasions, the suspect can be charged twice.  According to the report, the teacher was fired from her position earlier this month.

This former teacher is facing two counts of “unlawful sexual activity with certain minors”, which is a Florida sex crime.  Any person over 24 years-old who has any sexual contact with someone 16 or 17 years-old can be charged with this St. Johns County sex charge.  When we hear “sexual activity”, many people think it is intercourse, but the Florida statute is much more broad.  Sexual activity includes any oral, anal or vaginal penetration, or union with, the sexual organ of another or any object.  “Union with” means just touching.

It is unclear at this point how the allegations came to light.  Often times, a parent will look at their teenager’s cell phone and discover inappropriate texts from an adult.  The parent will confront the teenager and call the police.  Once the police get the alleged victim’s statement, they will turn their attention to the suspect.  Often times, they will simply call the accused and ask them to come down to the police station to give their side of the story.  Many suspects think that if they have nothing to hide, there is no harm in giving a statement.  What they don’t realize is that the majority of times that interview ends in handcuffs.

A Jacksonville man who is a registered sex offender is on the run, possibly still handcuffed.  According to a report in the Florida Times Union, the man was at the Jacksonville Re-Entry Center trying to register as required by Florida law and the police discovered that he had failed to register sometime in the past.  Police arrested and handcuffed the man before letting him go to the restroom.  The man allegedly jumped out of the bathroom window and is still at large.  He was required to register because he had been convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Battery in Duval County. There are now two sex crime warrants outstanding for the man.

In Jacksonville and all over the State of Florida, convicted sex offenders and predators must submit all of their information to a registry.  Of all crimes, sex crimes are the only ones that will follow you visibly in the community for the rest of your life.  If you are adjudicated guilty or receive a withhold of adjudication on a sex crime, you must register in the county where you reside.  This requirement also applies to convictions by a military tribunal, including courts-martial by the Armed Forces of the United States.  Some examples of crimes that require registration are sexual battery, lewd or lascivious molestation or battery, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, sexual performance by a child, possession of computer child pornography, kidnapping a child under 13 and false imprisonment of a child under 13 years of age.

If you are required to register, within 48 hours of being released from custody or from moving into Florida, you have to:

While Bill Cosby has certainly been accused by many women of sex charges, only one case to date has been filed. Cosby faces prosecution in Pennsylvania for allegedly giving the woman drugs without her consent and having sexual relations with her. Los Angeles prosecutors have recently decided not to charge the television star in two accusations from two woman in the California city, according to an article in the LA Times.

In one of the cases in California, prosecutors decided there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute this alleged sex crime. In Jacksonville and all of Florida, this alleged crime would most likely be categorized as a Sexual Battery without force. To prove this, the state attorney would have to show that the suspect’s sexual organ penetrated or had union with the victim’s sexual organ. They would also have to prove the victim was physically helpless to resist or that the suspect administered a narcotic or other intoxicant to the victim unknowingly and without her consent that rendered her incapacitated. These Jacksonville sex charges are sometimes hard to prove because the victim admits that he or she was not of sound mind at the time and most likely cannot provide details. Often times, prosecutors will bring a sex case just based on the alleged victim’s word. Sometimes, there is no physical evidence to even prove that a crime was committed at all.  This is a scary prospect because the punishments are so severe if one is convicted of any sex crime in Florida. There are minimum mandatory sentences and a lifetime sentence of becoming a registered sex offender or predator.

The other California case was not brought because of the expiration of the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations is a bar on the prosecution of crimes because of too much time lapsing. In Florida, there are several categories with different time limitations. There is no time limit for the state to prosecute life felonies or capital felonies. These cases consist of murders and certain sex crimes, such as capital sexual battery. A first degree felony must be prosecuted within four years after the offense date. A second and third degree felony in Florida must be commenced within three years. First degree misdemeanors hold a two year time limit and second degree misdemeanors hold a one year time limit.

A St. Johns County man was arrested when police say he arrived to meet someone he thought was an underage girl for sex.  Police said the man arranged the meeting online and detectives were waiting for him when he showed up, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man is charged with travelling to meet a minor for sexual activity and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. The travelling to meet a minor charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The unlawful use of a communications device charge is a third-degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Typically, these types of St. Johns County Sex Crimes cases are part of a larger sting by several law enforcement agencies where a couple of dozen men are arrested over several days. These stings were part of the national spotlight after the popular Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator series used hidden cameras to show the men walking up to the houses and being arrested. This St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case, however, is not part of a larger sting and it was not clear in media reports how police learned of the man’s intentions.  In these types of St. Johns County Sex Crimes Cases, the defendants are usually chatting online with an undercover officer, though they think it is a teen on the other end of the computer. Because of that fact, police and prosecutors generally have a word-for-word transcript of who the defendant said – which can typically be read in front to a jury of the St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case ends up in trial.

If a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to this St. Johns County Sex Crimes charge, he would have to register as a sex offender. That requires checking in with police at least twice a year, and notifying police within 48 hours of moving residences. Once a person moves, neighbors are then notified that a sex offender has moved into the neighborhood.  There are lasting consequences for people who plead guilty to or are convicted of a St. Johns County Sex Crime. Our St. Johns County Sex Crimes Attorney knows all of the ramifications and can explain them to you or your loved one in detail so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed with the case.

A female St. Johns County high school teacher has been arrested, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student in one of her classes.  The investigation began with a tip to school officials last month and the teacher was suspended, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Schools officials handed the investigation over to police, who issued a warrant for the 26-year-old woman’s arrest this month, the newspaper reported. Once the woman learned of the warrant, she turned herself into police and was released from jail on a $10,000 bond, the newspaper reported. The teacher is charged with having unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. The charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The charge specifically applies to a person over the age of 24 having sexual contact with a person who is 16 or 17 years old.

In addition to the potential prison time, the woman would likely have to register as a sex offender in the State of Florida. That punishment extends well beyond any term behind bars though, traditionally, women charged in these types of St. Johns County Sex Crimes Cases receive a far reduced sentence than men charged with a similar crime. But, someone who pleads guilty to or is convicted of certain serious sex crimes will have to register as a sex offender and check in with police at least twice a year. And, every time a sex offender moves residences, he or she must notify police within 48 hours or face an additional felony charge with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Once the person moves into an area, neighbors are notified there is now a sex offender living nearby. The notification includes the person’s name and address, along with the charge that the person pleaded guilty to or was convicted of.

St. Johns County Sex Crimes can have lifelong ramifications – more so than most other crimes. Pleading guilty to a sex crime can have long-lasting consequences, and our St. Johns County Sex Crimes Attorney can explain those consequences to you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed with you case.

Days after a school system report named three male former employees accused of having sex with students, one of the men was arrested and charged with a felony.  The former part-time coach is accused with having a months-long sexual relationship with a high school senior and football manager who was 17 at the time the relationship began, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man had already resigned from the coaching position once he was interviewed by school district investigators and allegedly admitted the relationship, the newspaper reported. After the school allegations were made public, the alleged victim gave a sworn statement to prosecutors, which led to the arrest the next day.

The man is charged with unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. This Jacksonville Sex Crimes law is specifically for people 24 years of age or older that are accused of having sexual contact with someone who is 16 or 17 years old. As soon as the man turned himself in to be arrested, he resigned his job as a corrections officer, which he had held for almost five years, the newspaper reported. Police are still investigating allegations against two other former school employees – a former teacher and the former dean of students. Both resigned following the district investigation, the newspaper reported.

Duval County Sex Crimes often have lifelong consequences that defendants must answer for long after any prison sentence is completed. In many Jacksonville Sex Crimes, especially those involving minors, if someone pleads guilty or is convicted, he or she will be classified as a sexual offender. Registered sex offenders are required to check in with police at least twice a year – depending on the severity of the crime they pleaded guilty to or were convicted of. Also, any time a sex offender moves residences, he or she must notify police and then the person’s neighbors are notified with the new address and the charge that caused the person to become a sex offender. There are also restrictions on where some sexual offenders can live, including proximity to schools, parks and other areas children congregate.  Our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney knows all of the requirements associated with being named a sexual offender and will thoroughly explain those to you or your loved one so you can determine how to proceed with the case.