Articles Posted in Sex Crimes in Jacksonville

A fireman working in Jacksonville has been arrested for solicitation of a child via computer and unlawful use of a two-way communication device out of St. Johns County.  According to a report in the Florida Times Union, the man allegedly engaged in an online discussion with a child he was told was fourteen years-old.  The discussion, according to the police, turned sexual, with the firefighter allegedly sending pictures of himself to the “girl”.  A St. Johns County arrest warrant was issued and he was arrested shortly after.

This arrest was out of a sting called Operation Cruel Summer.  Periodically, police departments all over Florida conduct online trolling operations and make several sex crime arrests.  Local law enforcement will usually post an online profile on a website, such as Craigslist.  The men will begin a chat with a detective posing as a child and the “child” will eventually reveal his or her age.  Some of the men continue the conversation, whether via email, text or messaging.  Some men will ask for pictures and send pictures of themselves.  Some clothed and some not.  Often times, the “child” will ask the men to meet up at a location, usually their house.  This house has been procured by the police and is full of officers waiting to pounce on the suspect as soon as he comes to the door.

The charges that come out of these stings can vary, but the most common are what the firefighter has been charged with.  Solicitation of a child via computer is a third degree felony and is considered a “sex” crime in Florida.  If convicted, at a minimum, the man will be a sex offender for the rest of his life.  Any person who uses a computer service to seduce, solicit lure a person believed to be a child to commit a sex act is guilty of this offense.  The maximum time in prison for this St. Johns County sex case is five years.  The other felony charged is unlawful use of a two-way communication device, which also is a third degree felony.  Although punishable by the same amount of prison time, this is not considered a sex crime in Florida.  Any person who uses a two-way communications device, such as email or text, to facilitate or further the commission of ANY felony commits this crime.

A local former church director was recently arrested for a sex charge allegedly involving an underage girl.  According to an article from First Coast News, the man was arrested for capital sexual battery, which is punishable by mandatory life in prison if he is convicted as charged.  In addition to this life charge, the former director is also charged with showing obscene material to the minor child.  This is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.  Police believe there may be more victims that have yet to come forward.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office interviewed the man and he allegedly admitted to the one minor in this case and alluded to the fact there may be others.

The first, and most serious charge, is capital sexual battery in Jacksonville.  If a person is convicted of this charge, the judge would have to sentence that person to life in prison.  A judge would have no discretion.  Capital sexual battery is when an adult commits a sexual battery on a child under twelve years of age.  “Sexual Battery” is defined as any oral, anal or vaginal penetration, or touching of, by sexual organ of the perpetrator or by an object.  The other sex charge is showing obscene materials to a minor.  A person cannot knowingly sell, rent, loan, give a way, distribute, transmit or show any obscene materials to a minor.  “Obscene” is defined as material that the average person would, taken as a whole, appeal to prurient interests, depicts in an offensive way sexual conduct and taken as a whole lacks any serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.  “Materials” are any book, magazine, periodical, pamphlet, newspaper, photo, video, etc.

The Sheriff’s office, according to the report, interviewed the man in this case and he allegedly confessed to the crime and possibly admitted to others.  When someone is accused of a sex crime in Duval County, the police follow a protocol.  A call comes into the police, usually through 911, and a patrol officer goes to the scene.  The alleged victim, or victim’s parents, talk to the patrol officer.  A sex crime detective is assigned at some point after and a Child Protection Team forensic interview is scheduled.  The child is taken to the interview and without the parents being present, the child is interviewed.  That forensic interview is usually videotaped.

A Jacksonville man has been arrested for Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition on a child after a week-long search.  According to an article on News4Jax.com, last week, an eight year-old child told police a man came up to him in a car and asked it the child had seen the man’s cat.  While showing a picture of the cat to the boy, the man allegedly masturbated his penis after pulling his pants down.  The day after, the boy claims to have seen the suspect’s car and had his mother take a picture.  Police generated a sketch of the suspect from the child’s memory and posted it on the television and social media.  The suspect’s car was also posted.  News4Jax reports that the man’s boyfriend saw the pictures and confronted the suspect.  The suspect went to the police station and was interviewed.  He did not leave.  The man was arrested on this Jacksonville sex charge.

The man faces a lewd or lascivious exhibition charge in Jacksonville.  In order to prove the charge, the state attorney’s office has to show that the man intentionally masturbated, intentionally exposed his genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner or intentionally committed a sexual act that did not involve physical contact with the alleged victim.  Examples of this could be bestiality or simulations of sexual activity.  If the suspect is eighteen years-old or older and the alleged victim is under sixteen, the charge is considered a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.

A $100,003 bond was set in Duval County for this case.  Accused sex suspects, in Jacksonville and all over Florida, are considered especially dangerous by prosecutors and the judiciary.  Even though there is no allegation of touching in this case, the man must post a very high bond to be released to fight his charge.  In cases involving any type of sex accusation, there very often is no physical evidence to corroborate the alleged victim’s statement.  But it is that statement that leads to an arrest and being held in jail, all while the suspect has the presumption of innocence.  The state attorney’s office has to prove the charge beyond all reasonable doubt and until they do, the accused is considered innocent under the law.

Controversial Jacksonville preacher, Kenneth Adkins, has been sentenced after being found guilty of several child sex charges in Brunswick, Georgia.  According to an article on News4Jax, Adkins was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison followed by sex offender probation for his natural lifetime.  Adkins was accused of having sexual contact with both a teenage girl and boy.  Per the article, Adkins criminal defense attorney argued that the teenage boy was sixteen at the time of sexual contact.  This is relevant because the age of consent in Georgia is sixteen.

This is in stark contrast to Florida’s age of consent.  In Florida, and many other states, eighteen is the minimum age that a person can consent to sex.  Consent is defined as intelligently, knowingly and voluntarily consenting to the contact and cannot be coerced.  Ages of both the accused and the alleged victim are extremely important to the various sex charges in Jacksonville.  For example, sexual battery, or rape, in Jacksonville is defined as oral, anal or vaginal penetration by any means without consent.  If a person eighteen years of age or older commits a sexual battery on another adult, the crime is considered a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.  If the accused is eighteen or older and the alleged victim is twelve or older and less than eighteen, the sex crime is elevated to a first degree, punishable by up to life.  The same elevations apply to lewd or lascivious crimes in Florida. Lewd molestation is when someone intentionally touches, in a lewd or lascivious way, the breasts, genitals, genital area or buttocks or the clothes over them of a person under sixteen years of age.  If the accused is eighteen or older and the alleged victim is less than twelve years of age, it is considered a life felony.  If the accused is an adult and the alleged victim is twelve or older but less than sixteen, the level is dropped to a second degree felony.

No matter the ages, when someone is convicted of a sex crime in Florida, they are looking at being a sex offender or predator for their entire life.  Restrictions will be placed on where they can live, where they can work and who they can associate with.  In addition to the registration, they are subject to being on sex offender probation, which is the most stringent probation by far in our state.  Sex offender probation in Florida includes intensive psychosexual counseling, periodic polygraph examinations, restrictions of where you can live, restrictions on where you work, restrictions on where you go and restrictions on being around any minors, including natural born children.

A Jacksonville man is in police custody facing a pending sexual battery charge.  The man also happens to be a registered sexual predator in Florida who is on probation.  According to an article in the Florida Times Union, the man was drinking with a woman and later in the night, the woman claimed she woke up to her pants being pulled down.  She alleges the man engaged in several sex acts with her without her consent.  The man then quickly left the apartment because he had a curfew as part of his probation, according to the woman.  Another condition of the suspect’s probation is that he wear a GPS monitor.  Police confirmed that the man was at the alleged victim’s apartment at the time of the alleged rape.  The man’s DNA was allegedly found on the woman’s pants.

Because the man was arrested for a new law violation while on probation, his Duval County sex offender probation is going to be violated.  Even though he now has a $500,000 bond on the new sex charge, the bond for the violation of probation will almost surely be NONE.  That means once arrested on the violation, he cannot bond out at all.  When you are on probation in Jacksonville and are arrested on any new charge, you can be violated if the new arrest was based on probable cause.  That means that more likely than not, the arresting officer believed a crime was committed.  The man is on probation for sexual battery of a minor, which is a first degree felony.  That means he is facing up to thirty years in prison if he is found in violation of his probation.  This possible sentence does not include the new charge.

The new sex charge is sexual battery, which is a second degree felony in Florida.  If filed, this charge carries a maximum of fifteen years in prison.  Sexual battery, also referred to as rape, is usually a he said/she said.  That appears to be the situation in this case, although police claim the man denied any sexual contact with the woman.  This presents a problem if his semen was in fact found on her pants.  The fact that the man is a registered sex predator is going to hurt his credibility with prosecutors assigned to make the decision on whether or not to file the new charge.

A recent article from the Associated Press highlights the growing number of people being placed on sex offender registries all over the country.  According to the report, there are more than 800,000 people on registries in the United States.  Their crimes vary from relatively minor indecent exposure charges to serious child molestation charges.  In certain states, Florida included, once you are placed on a sex offender registry, you can NEVER get off.

When someone is arrested for any sex crime in Jacksonville, they will most likely have a very high bond.  As high as if they were facing a murder charge with a lot less evidence.  The State Attorney’s Office then has about two and a half weeks to make a decision about what to do with the case.  They can file the case as charged, they can drop the case because of a lack of evidence, or try to negotiate a disposition prior the the filing decision.

Negotiations in sex cases are very important and can have lifelong consequences.  Sometimes, the prosecutor assigned to the case will offer to file a non-sex charge in return for the defendant serving jail time, going on probation, or both.  Sometimes, the prosecutor will offer the sex charge with no jail or prison time, but require sex offender probation with the added bonus of being labeled a sex offender for life.  In Duval County and every county in Florida, when you are convicted of a sex crime, such as sexual battery, sex offender probation is going to be part of the punishment.  Florida sex offender probation is the most difficult probation in our justice system.  An offender will be required to successfully complete psychosexual counseling, have no unsupervised contact with minors, cannot live within 1,000 feet of places where children regularly congregate, submit themselves to searches from the probation officer at all times, may have to wear an ankle monitor as well as many other conditions.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with multiple other law enforcement agencies in Florida, has made several arrests connected to an internet/traveler sting.  According to an article in The Florida Times Union, four men have been arrested this week on sex charges in Jacksonville.  This is the tail-end of the arrests, according to the report.  Eleven arrests were made in July after the sheriff’s office conducted “Operation Blue Hawk”.  Typically, detectives pose as either a boy or a girl, between twelve and fourteen years of age, asking to meet up.  When the man appears at a time and location certain, they are usually arrested on the spot for soliciting a minor, traveling to meet a minor, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.  All of these Duval sex charges are felonies.  One of the men allegedly involved in this sting possessed child pornography when arrested.

When police set up these stings, they have their act together.  All communications with a subject are saved, including emails, direct messages, texts and phone calls.  When the suspect comes to the location set up by the detectives, they are immediately arrested when they walk in the door.  All electronic devices are taken from them, including their cell phones and computers.  The phones and computers are searched and if any questionable images or videos are found, a new charge will be added.  Under Florida law, if you seduce, lure or entice a child, or someone you believe to be a child, to commit illegal sexual conduct, this is a third degree felony.  In addition to facing up to five years in prison, you are facing being labeled a sex offender, forever.  Traveling to meet the minor is also a third degree felony, punishable the same way.  The one felony associated with these stings that is not a “sex” charge is unlawful use of a two-way communication device.  This is also a felony in Florida.  The one man in this sting has an additional charge of possession of child pornography.  Child pornography is defined as any image showing a minor engaged in a sex act.

If arrested in a traveler sex sting, it is imperative to seek the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable Jacksonville sex crime lawyer.  Not every case is the same.  Mitigation can be presented to the state attorney’s office to possibly have the charges reduced or even dropped in the right circumstance.

A man is in jail in Gainesville, Florida after a Florida football player intervened in an alleged sexual assault on an intoxicated woman.  According to an article on KTLA 5 news, the football player was working security at a local bar and noticed the man and woman touching near a dumpster.  Both parties appeared drunk and when the man started touching the woman sexually, security pulled the man away and the police were called.  The woman was allegedly unable to hold her head up and had trouble standing.  The accused man was charged with sexual battery and has a $500,000 bond.

Sexual battery when a victim is physically incapacitated or unable to resist is one of the most serious sex crimes in Jacksonville and all of Florida.  It can be charged as a first degree felony, which is punishable by up to thirty years in prison.  Florida statutes define a “physically helpless” victim as one who is unconscious, asleep, or is physically unable to consent.  Being drunk or intoxicated on drugs can be considered physically helpless in this case.  In any rape allegation, it usually comes down to a he said/she said.  A woman saying she did not consent to sexual contact can be enough to prosecute a sexual battery.  Even if she did not physically resist.  Even if she did not initially report the alleged assault.  Even if the two were seen together, happy, just before the alleged rape.  In many cases, there is no physical evidence to substantiate the claim.  If the alleged victim seems credible to the prosecutor, that is enough to move forward.  In the Gainesville case, the security reportedly took cell phone video of the contact between the parties at the dumpster.  If there is video evidence of sexual contact, the issue will come down to whether or not the woman consented or had the ability to consent.

The extremely high bond, half a million dollars, is not abnormal when there are accusations of sexual misconduct.  In Duval County and around Florida, bonds for sex cases are far higher than any others, including some murders and violent crimes.  The mere suggestion or allegation of illegal sexual contact can lead to being arrested and put in jail on a bond so high you cannot meet it or you could have no bond.  Just based on a person’s word.  That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Duval County Sex Crime Attorney the minute there is any word of sexual misconduct.

Three local young men are not going to be considered sex offenders or even felons after the State Attorney’s Office reduced their Duval County sex charges to misdemeanors.  According to an article in The Florida Times Union, the three were arrested in early April on charges of lewd and lascivious battery, a second degree felony, and computer pornography, which is a third degree felony.  In addition to looking at many years in prison, the men were facing being sex offenders for the rest of their lives.  The alleged victim, a minor, originally told police she was forced to engaging in sexual contact, but later changed her story.  The article also reports that video of the incident shows that the contact was consensual.  All three will enter pleas to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida.  They will be sentenced to probation to perform community service hours, have no contact with the girl, and have no unsupervised contact with minors.

When someone is even accused of a sex crime in Jacksonville, there is a stigma that automatically attaches.  Even if the accusation is a complete lie.  In sex cases, there is often no physical or eyewitness evidence, just someone’s word.  Despite the lack of evidence which so often accompanies sex charges, they are punishable as if you had murdered someone.  Many Jacksonville sex crimes are punishable by fifteen years, thirty years or life in prison.  There are all kinds of reasons people lie, but when someone says they have been sexually assaulted, there is usually going to be an arrest.

If you are arrested for any type of sex crime in northeast Florida or anywhere, you should first contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area.  Just because you have been arrested does not mean that the State Attorney’s Office will file the charges you were arrested for.  As in the above mentioned case, prosecutors have wide discretion in what charges they pursue.  In this case, the State’s alleged victim lied up front, claiming she had sex against her will.  It turned out she was lying, for whatever reason.  Even if the sex was consensual, a minor cannot consent to any sexual contact and the State could have pursued the sex charges.  Instead, they chose to drop all of the sex felony charges and let the men enter pleas to a misdemeanor.  They will be able to go on with their lives and hopefully avoid any of these type of issues in the future.

Based on allegations in Pennsylvania, Bill Cosby will face trial for sexual assault.  According to an article in the Washington Post, the criminal judge in Cosby’s case issued a ruling that the prosecutors in his case had enough evidence to submit his case to a jury.  Even though Cosby has faced many allegations of sexual assaults from multiple women, this will be the first he will be tried for if the case actually goes to trial.

When someone is arrested for a sex charge in Duval County, the State Attorney’s Office will assign the case to a particular prosecutor.  That prosecutor will be in the Special Assault Division, commonly referred to as “SAD”.  Once assigned, that prosecutor must make a decision about what happens in the case.  This part of the process is called pre-filing.  The prosecutor will look at all of the reports and speak to the detective, witnesses and alleged victim.  This is the most critical part of any case.  The benefit of hiring an experienced sex crime lawyer in Duval County is that the lawyer will meet with the assistant state attorney before they make any decisions about the case.  The criminal defense lawyer can also accumulate evidence that the police missed or were not interested in.

If the prosecutor elects to file the sex case in Jacksonville, a defendant has a few options.  The accused can fight the charge in court.  Their sex defense attorney will get all of the reports generated in the case and any video and audio recordings taken.  At that point, depositions will be scheduled.  Depositions are where sworn testimony is taken of any and all witnesses in the case, including the person making the allegations.  Almost anything can be asked at depositions, even if those questions cannot be asked in a trial.  Once all the depositions are completed, the case will go to trial.