Police arrested a 26-year-old school employee on St. Johns County Sex Crimes charges, after the accused of kissing a student last month. The woman, who works at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, is accused of sitting on a couch across from the student, when the two then kissed, according to a report on News4Jax. The woman was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child between the ages of 12 and 16. The charge is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
The underlying factor in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case is the relative age of the alleged victim - which was not reported by the television station, though the exact age doesn't matter. With the victim being between 12 and 16 and the suspect being over the age of 18, the same charges apply. Molestation may seem like it is overstating the case, and sounds like much more than a simple kiss. However, according to Florida Statutes, "A person who intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or forces or entices a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator, commits lewd or lascivious molestation." In this circumstance, the state has decided that a kiss qualifies to make this a felony St. Johns County Sex Crime.
It seems highly unlikely that the defendant in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case would receive anything close to the maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Right or wrong, the courts tend to look at cases differently in terms of punishment when the alleged perpetrator is a woman, as opposed to a man. The big issue in terms of sentencing in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case is whether the woman will have to register as a sex offender. If she was to plead to or be convicted of her current charges, she would have to register. That is likely a key piece of any negotiation, though it could be one the state is unwilling to budge on. Once someone is classified as a sexual offender, he or she has to check in with police at least twice a year - and within 48 hours of moving residences. The public piece comes in when the person moves, then neighbors are sent a notice that a sex offender has moved into the area - with the person's name and the charge that led to the conviction. The registration is important to notify the public of dangerous sexual predators, but can also stigmatize people and create what amounts to a life sentence for someone who made a bad decision and is not out to prey on children.
Our St. Johns County Sex Crimes Attorney is well-versed in the registration laws and can explain the requirements in detail so you or your loved one can make an informed decision on how best to move forward.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.