A Jacksonville man walked out of court a free man last week, acquitted of Duval County sex charges that he molested his 2-year-old daughter more than six years ago. Jerry Paul Tippins had been in jail for more than six years awaiting the trial, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He was initially represented by the Public Defender’s Office, but shortly before the trial was set to go, a conflict was discovered and another Jacksonville criminal defense attorney was appointed, adding to the delay. He was charged with Jacksonville sexual battery of a child under the age of 12 and molestation, facing up to life in prison if convicted. Tippins maintained his innocence the entire time and a jury agreed last week.
Police were initially brought into the case when Tippins and the child’s mother brought the young girl to a hospital with bleeding from her vagina, injuries medical staff deemed consistent with sexual abuse, the newspaper reported. Medical experts presented at trial discredited those findings, as well as a jailhouse snitch who said Tippins confessed to him that Tippins and the child’s mother involved their child in their sex life.
Sex crimes in Jacksonville can be by far the toughest accusations to live down, even if you are found not guilty, as Tippins was. During his time in jail, waiting for his day in court, Tippins’ custody of his daughter was taken away by the state – even though he had not been found guilty of the sex crime.
If you are convicted or plead guilty to a sex crime in Florida, you will have to register as a sexual offender for the rest of your life. That means every time you move into a new neighborhood, everyone nearby will be notified of your presence and your past. And while these penalties for sex crimes are often the most severe in terms of life-long implications, the cases are among the most difficult to prove. In many cases, there is little if any physical evidence. In this case, there was blood on a diaper and a small amount of semen on a baby wipe that had Tippins’ DNA, the newspaper reported. In the trial, Tippins’ Jacksonville sex crime attorneys argued the child mother touched the wipe shortly after having sex with Tippins and that’s how the semen got there, the newspaper reported.
It was enough for the jury to have reasonable doubt, and Tippins was set free. But not without sacrificing six years of his life in jail for a Jacksonville crime he didn’t commit. In the long term, Tippins will not have to register as a sex offender and will not have a conviction on his record, though the arrest will remain on his record and be something he’ll have to answer for the rest of his life. Our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, has represented hundreds of people accused of sex crimes and knows that false accusations are more common than people tend to think – especially in sex cases.
If you or a loved one needs a sex crimes attorney in Duval, Clay or Nassau Counties, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.