An Army recruiter was arrested this month on a sexual battery charge, accused of having sex with Clay County high school student. Reginald Richardson is charged with sexual battery on a person between the ages of 12 and 18, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The victim told a school official she had repeatedly refused to have sex with the 39-year-old Richardson, but eventually agreed so he would leave her alone, the newspaper reported. The alleged assaults occurred three or four times this calendar year, according to the newspaper report.
Many cases of Clay County sexual battery such as the one Richardson is charged with are second-degree felonies with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. But, in this Clay County Sex Crime Case, prosecutors are saying that Richardson had a “familial or custodial” relationship with the victim. Legally, that can make the crime a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The “familial or custodial” role often applies to stepfathers, grandparents, teachers or people who have a leading role at a church, such as a pastor or youth group leader. The crux is the adult accused is said to be using his or her position as an authority figure to coerce the child or teen into having sex. Whether the defendant uses that role as a point of influence is inconsequential, according to Florida law. The mere presence of that relationship is enough to make the charge a first-degree felony.
The relationship in this Clay County Sex Crimes case is not clear, based on the newspaper report. There is also a provision of the “familial or custodial” element that applies to a person who is “in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of government,” according to Florida law. The state could be using Richardson’s role in the military to quality as the custodial trigger to elevate the charge to a first-degree felony. At the time of the initial news of the arrest, an Army spokesperson said it had not received notification of the arrest from police, so it had not taken any disciplinary action against Richardson, the newspaper reported. While any felony charge can be difficult to live down, it is even worse in Clay County Sex Crimes Cases. Our system is built around an accused being innocent until proven guilty but with sex crimes, it seems an accusation is all society needs to brand someone as rapist or a pedophile. Our Clay County Sex Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of people accused of various sex crimes and can go over the details of the investigation with you and explain the ramifications of a guilty plea or a conviction in a Clay County Sex Crimes Case that are often more permanent than in other types of crimes.
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 Clay County Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.