Jacksonville police arrested a youth minister last week after allegations that the 38-year-old man molested a 15-year-old girl. David Wayne Larson was charged with four counts of Jacksonville lewd and lascivious molestation of a juvenile, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. These Duval County Sex Charges are all second-degree felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Police received information in December that Larson was sexually involved with a teen over the course of the past four months, according to the newspaper report. Police investigated and then discovered enough evidence to make an arrest and charge him, according to the newspaper, though none of the evidence was made public last week. Jacksonville sex crimes cases are extremely serious and come with severe consequences that can stick with a person forever. For example, if a person is convicted of the sex related crimes Larson is charged with, not only will the person likely go to prison, once they are released they will be required to register as a sex offender. That means any time they move, all of their neighbors will be notified of their Jacksonville sex crime. They are also restricted as to where they can choose to live because they cannot legally live near schools or other areas children congregate.
Sex crimes in Florida and everywhere also carry a stigma unlike any other crime and people often assume that if an accusation is made, the person is automatically guilty. To the contrary, Jacksonville sex charges can be the most difficult cases for the state to prove. It’s impossible to know what evidence the state has against Lawson in this case, but in many Jacksonville sex crimes cases there is little to no physical evidence. Many times it is simply the word of the alleged victim versus the word of the defendant. There are countless examples of people recanting stories of alleged molestation and there are others where juries have found people not guilty because they didn’t feel there was enough independent evidence to convict the defendant.
One key to Lawson’s Jacksonville sex crimes case will be what, if anything, he told police when he was arrested. If he did not make an admission, he helped himself significantly. If he did end up making a confession in an interview with detectives, the “he-said, she-said” type of defense is basically out the window. Our experienced Jacksonville sex crimes attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with sex crimes and knows the significance a conviction or a guilty plea can have on a person for the rest of his or her life.
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 Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.