Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested a Dade City man for allegedly possessing hundreds of files of child pornography and possibly accessing thousands more.

A Pasco County Sheriff’s Office arrest report states investigators found 274 suspected child porn files on the man’s laptop. They allegedly reviewed 22 of those files and found graphic videos, some involving children younger than five years old, engaged in sex acts.

An IP address linked to the man’s home also may have allegedly accessed child pornography files at least 2,529 times in October and 18,779 times in March.

According to the report, the man admitted to downloading such files since he was 17 years old.

The man is charged with 21 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of transmission of child pornography.

He’s currently in jail on $1.1 million bond.

A conviction of child pornography can be devastating to your personal life and career. The number of images, type of pictures and the ages of the alleged children are factored into the charges and sentencing guidelines. You could be looking at years, decades or even life behind bars for each image in question and a permanent stamp on the sex offender registry.

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A Windermere man was found guilty Tuesday of raping a woman he was accused of drugging and taking pictures of.

The man was found guilty after just a two-day trial. Jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday before finding him guilty of attempted sexual battery and sexual battery.

The investigation into the man began in 2014, but two years before that, Windermere Police began investigating a case that involved more than 100 videos of drugged women, some taken as far back as 2006.

In January 2016, a woman reported to police that she thought she may have been the victim of a rape. While meeting with investigators, she saw two videos that showed her unconscious body being sexually assaulted. She told them she used to work for the man and would socialize with him and his friends.

The man did not take the stand in his own defense but told the judge that he was not happy with his attorneys and that he was not prepared for the trial.

The man’s sentencing is set for May 4. He faces up to 45 years in prison.

Once you have been convicted of a sex crime or any criminal offense for that matter, you do have the option to appeal your conviction. This can be a difficult process, but our Florida Criminal Appeals Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you through the appeals process.

The first phase of the criminal case is completed at sentencing.This means you have gone to trial and been convicted and sentenced or you have pled guilty and been sentenced. On both the state and federal court levels, there are different options for filing an appeal right after a criminal conviction or sentence.

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A 27-year-old Florida man was arrested Thursday on a pimping charge during an undercover Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigation.

The man is charged with living off the earnings of a prostitute, cocaine possession and transporting a person for prostitution.

Jacksonville police were apparently digging into online ads for escorts when they came across the man, according to reports.

An undercover officer posed as a customer and met with the man and an alleged prostitute, who apparently agreed to have sex with the detective for $160, according to police.

The man and woman were both arrested.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, the most important thing you can do before anything else is hire a criminal defense attorney. You need legal help to reduce the potential damages to your life and future. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you with whatever criminal charges you are dealing with – big or small.

In your free consultation, we will give you an honest assessment of your case, including the potential defenses and outcomes, so that you are educated on the issues at hand. Our goal is to provide you with effective legal counsel that will ultimately avoid a criminal conviction whenever possible. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, in either state or federal court, our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can take immediate action for your defense.

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A 33-year-old youth softball coach from Auburndale is facing charges of having sex with a minor.

The 33-year-old was taken into custody Friday after authorities talked to the 17-year-old girl. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Lakeland girl told authorities she had consensual sex with the man in early February.  

According to authorities, the man and the girl knew each other for several years, and the man lived with her family for a period of time in the past. The girl is to turn 18 years old in a couple of weeks.

The man works part-time as an assistant softball coach at a Polk County high school.

The man also was a coach for the teen’s travel softball team.

Authorities claim the two attended the Monster Jam event in Tampa on Feb. 3 with two other friends. After the event, the group drove back to Bartow, dropped off the friends and drove back to Lakeland.

On the way, the man allegedly pulled over his vehicle near State Road 60 and Highway 37 in Mulberry, where the two had consensual sex.

The man has been charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

The man has been placed on administrative leave. A recommendation to terminate him will go before the School Board later this month.

If you have been arrested for alleged unlawful sexual activity with a minor, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. A conviction for this crime could result in a significant fine, up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as  a sex offender.

Following an arrest for a sex crime, you should exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and avoid answering any questions that could be used against you in court. Regardless of your innocence, you should not say anything to authorities until you have contacted our Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton. We can make sure your rights are protected and comb through all the evidence against you to establish the best defense strategy for you.

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A Haines City High School teacher is accused of having explicit, sexual conversations with a 15-year-old boy in Texas.

The 27-year-old faces felony charges from Winter Haven Police.

She told police the teen told her he was 19 years old. According to police, the boy’s mother found out about the messages and told Dunlap to stop communicating with him.

Police apparently learned that the two continued to communicate through Google Hangouts.

Detectives arrested the woman at her home Sunday and booked her into the Polk County Jail.

She is charged with transmitting material harmful to a minor and using a two-way communication device to commit a felony.

Sex crimes in Florida can take many forms, but regardless of the offense, those who are charged with this type of offense need a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Those who are found guilty can receive hefty punishments, including jail time and fines.

Anyone can be accused of a sex crime, which is scary. You could be charged for offenses against total strangers, friends, significant others, family members, and even spouses. If  the alleged victims are minors or children, the consequences of a conviction are enhanced significantly.

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Crime fell across Florida in the first half of 2017, according to the Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

While there were more than 6,000 fewer crimes reported in Florida in the first sixth months of the year, a 2 percent drop, overall crime was nearly flat in Duval and St. Johns counties, marginally higher in Alachua and Bradford counties and there was a spike in Union County.

Crime in the first half of the year was down significantly in Putnam County and Nassau counties, noticeably in Baker, Clay, Columbia and Flagler counties.

The crimes of murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and larceny were down statewide while the crimes of rape and motor vehicle theft increased.  Domestic violence fell 1 percent, with domestic violence murder and aggravated assault down while rape and stalking were up.

FDLE has tracked crime statistics since 1971.

When you, or someone you love, is facing criminal charges in Florida, it can be a frightening time. Perhaps you were arrested for DUI, were charged with possession of drugs, or are being accused of a sex crime. Or, maybe you were arrested for a violent crime, a weapons charge, assault or domestic violence. It really doesn’t matter what charge you’re facing because you could be facing possible jail time and a criminal record.

Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you if you are facing a criminal charge of any kind. As former prosecutors, we understand how the State will proceed against you on the charges and how the local police investigated the case which helps us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Every criminal case is different, but we will mount the strongest defense strategy for your unique case and work to overcome the prosecution’s strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

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A Marion County teacher assistant was recently charged with molesting a middle school student, according to Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The 36-year-old is being charged with lewd or lascivious molestation.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said she allegedly admitted to investigators that she had sexual contact with a then 14-year-old student.

According to the sheriff’s office, she was working as a paraprofessional teacher’s assistant at the school at the time when she met the student. Marion County Public School officials say she has been removed from the classroom and is on paid administrative leave.

The investigation started in July of 2017 when a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy found a suspicious vehicle in a church parking lot.

According to investigators, the deputy found the woman alone and partially clothed.

Authorities claim the woman made statements about having a relationship with an 8th grade student.

Investigators said the teen told them he was with the woman in the parking lot that night, but he ran away when he saw the deputy.

She was released on $5,000 bond.

If you have been arrested for child molestation, you need to consult with a Marion County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton right away. We can provide you with the aggressive defense you need to fight the sex crimes charges against you. As trial attorneys, we have decades of experience and a solid understanding of sex crimes defenses throughout the state of Florida. We can put our experience to work for you and develop an aggressive defense strategy for your child molestation charges.

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St. Petersburg police arrested a 25-year-old man and charged him with two counts of kidnapping and one count of sexual battery with a deadly weapon.

Police claim the incidents involved teenage boy.

Police said the first incident happened June 29 when the man posed as a teenage girl on Facebook and lured a 17-year-old boy to a house. The man was allegedly armed with a handgun and threatened the boy, then apparently sexually assaulted him, authorities said.

The man is also accused of posing as a teenage girl and luring a 15-year-old boy to a vacant house on July 17. The boy escaped unharmed.

There are various levels of kidnapping laws in the state of Florida, and all of them are serious. Potential penalties can include substantial jail time and fines, just to name a few. These are severe crimes that require a strong defense. Depending on the facts of your case, some of your defense options could completely dismiss kidnapping charges while others may reduce the penalties of a conviction. When faced with kidnapping charges in St. Petersburg or the surrounding area, don’t mess around – get help from a Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible.

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Lakeland Police charged a Valrico man with 100 counts of possession of child pornography following an investigation of alleged child porn images found on his work computer.

Officials said an investigation into the 55-year-old man began in April. The man’s work computer was turned over to Lakeland detectives on April 19 after the company IT manager claims he found images of child pornography on it while troubleshooting technical difficulties.

According to detectives,a forensic investigation of the man’s computer was conducted. During that investigation, an alleged 100 images of child pornography were identified.

Lakeland Police detectives concluded their investigation on July 8 and, based on the evidence, charged the man with 100 counts of possession of child pornography. The man is currently still in the custody of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and will reportedly be returned to Polk County at a later date.

Child pornography charges alone are enough to ruin your reputation and get you fired from your job. You must take these charges seriously, as they are not going to just disappear. The first thing you need to do after being charged is to retain sound legal counsel, and the sooner the better. Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that prosecutors take a harsh stance when it comes to sexual offenses. They will do everything in their power to seek a conviction and will push for maximum consequences.

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When a criminal conviction is invalidated on appeal, the state is obligated to refund fees, court costs and restitution paid by the defendant, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month.

In Nelson V. Colorado, a violation of due process rights was found under the 14th Amendment. The state’s statute regarding compensation for the exonerated, which allows the retention of conviction-related assessments until the exonerated person proves his or her innocence by clear and convincing evidence in a civil court proceeding.

“Is there a risk of erroneous deprivation of defendant’s’ interest in return of their funds if, as Colorado urges, the Exoneration Act is the exclusive remedy? Indeed yes, for the act conditions refund on defendant’s’ proof of innocence by clear and convincing evidence,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. “But to get their money back, defendants should not be saddled with any proof burden.”

Two petitioners both had convictions dealing with sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse of children. One was ordered to pay $8,192.50 in fees, and was acquitted of all charges on appeal. The Colorado Department of Corrections kept $702.10 of that money. The other petitioner had one conviction reversed on direct review, and the others were vacated on post-conviction review. He was ordered to pay $4,413 in fees, and paid the state $1,977.75 after his conviction.

Neither person filed a claim under the state’s Exoneration Act, but both petitioned the court for a refund. The first petitioner’s trial court denied her motion, and the second petitioner’s post-conviction court refunded costs and fees, but not restitution. The Colorado Court of Appeal reversed, but the state supreme court found that since the two did not file a claim under the statute, the trial courts did not have the authority to grant refunds.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority. Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate in the case.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent, arguing that the majority did not address whether petitioners could show “a substantive entitlement” for the money they paid in accordance with their criminal convictions.

“No one disputes that if petitioners had never been convicted, Colorado could not have required them to pay the money at issue. And no one disputes that Colorado cannot require petitioners to pay any additional costs, fees, or restitution now that their convictions have been invalidated,” Thomas wrote. “It does not follow, however, that petitioners have a property right in the money they paid pursuant to their then-valid convictions, which now belongs to the state and the victims under Colorado law.”

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a concurrence for the judgement, finding that the majority’s treatment of restitution wasn’t “grounded in any historical analysis.” He wrote at length about Mathews v. Eldridge, a 1976 U.S. Supreme Court case that established a three-part balancing test to determine if the government must offer a hearing to a citizen who faces losing his or her property.

“The Court summarily rejects the proposition that ‘equitable considerations’ might militate against a blanket rule requiring the refund of money paid as restitution…but why is this so,” Alito writes. “What if the evidence amply establishes that the defendant injured the victims to whom restitution was paid but the defendant’s conviction is reversed on a ground that would be inapplicable in a civil suit?”

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