Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

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A former Pasco County School District transportation manager was sentenced to life in prison in federal court for sexually assaulting children and producing and distributing child pornography.

In August, the 35-year-old New Port Richey man pleaded guilty to enticing and coercing a minor to engage in sexual activity and to possessing child porn.

After statements were delivered and counsel was heard, the judge delivered the man’s sentence.

Court documents described the man as having a deeply embedded preference for sex with children that “descended to depths of depravity that are hard to fathom and that he’s a constant threat to society.”

The man began his career with Pasco schools as a school bus driver and worked his way up to the district’s transportation manager.

According to the plea agreement, beginning in 2014, the man, while employed by Pasco County Schools as a transportation manager, knowingly enticed a 15-year-old student from a local school to engage in sex acts.

Officials said the man had met the teen on the app Grindr.

The man engaged in a sexual relationship with the student that went on for several years. Officials said during that time, the man invited the student to view his collection of child pornography, invited him to watch live productions of child porn on the internet, and invited him to engage in group sex with other adults and minors.

The man also produced and distributed child porn of the student, according to the plea agreement.

Investigators said the man also had a close relationship with a Pasco County assistant principal. Officials said the two men would share child porn.

The government will review the man’s case in a few years under what’s called a Rule 35. That could determine whether he may be eligible for a parole at some point in the future.

After a person has been sentenced, there are several circumstances that could reduce the sentence. A direct appeal can be filed or the prosecution can file a motion pursuant to Rule 35(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to reward the person for providing substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.

Only the prosecution may file a Rule 35 motion, however, a criminal defense lawyer’s role in the process is substantial. Our Pasco County Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help make sure your are rewarded properly for the assistance provided. Our goal is to interest the prosecution in what you have to offer, ensure that the cooperation goes smoothly, and that the desired outcome is mutually achieved.  

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A 49-year-old Tampa man is facing federal charges after being accused of inappropriate behavior on a flight.

The man appeared in federal court Monday in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with abusive sexual contact.  

The charge against the man arose out of an in-flight incident while traveling on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque on Sunday. The criminal complaint alleges he groped a woman in the seat in front of him. The woman then requested that flight attendants move her to a different seat.

A conviction on the abusive sexual contact charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department.

Crimes aboard aircraft fall within the FBI’s jurisdiction. Sex crimes on flights are surprisingly common. In 2014 there were 38 cases of in-flight sexual assault reported to the FBI. In 2015, that number increased to 63.

While there are certainly people that are sexually assaulted on airplanes, not every accusation of sexual assault or unlawful sexual conduct has merit. Sex crimes cases are rarely as black and white as that.

That why if you’re facing a charge of sexual assault or rape, it is absolutely vital for you to call a Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton. Don’t even think about trying to explain things to the police before you call us at 813-221-3200. We will put our decades of trial law and former state prosecution experience to work for you to fight for your rights and your freedom. We understand the severity of the charges you are facing and what it takes to build a successful case on your behalf.

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A Gainesville barber was one of seven men arrested in a Volusia County internet sex sting.

The 34-year-old was arrested at a RaceTrac station in Deltona over the weekend. He allegedly told Volusia County sheriff’s deputies he only came to the meeting place because he believed it was an undercover sting and he thought it would be cool to see it in action.

The man was arrested and is accused of engaging in sexually charged chats and texts with an undercover detective he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

The man was in custody Monday at the Volusia County jail in lieu of $40,000 bond. The charges against him:

  • use of a two-way communications device to commit a felony
  • attempted lewd and lascivious sexual battery on child
  • traveling to meet a child after luring the child via computer
  • use of a computer to lure a child.

There were six other men arrested in the sting, which started last Wednesday and concluded around 4 a.m. Sunday and was dubbed Operation Unlawful Attraction.

Undercover sting operations are very common these days. They start with some online chats and lead to phone calls, texts and conclude with a meetup. Police will pose as minors or the guardians of minors online and attempt to catch online “predators.”

The interesting thing about these stings is that you can be arrested even if you did not actually commit a crime. Showing up to an arranged meeting spot is enough to seal the deal and you will be carted off to jail right then and there. Once arrested, it is best to invoke your right to remain silent until you have secured legal representation. Regardless of your innocence, police will do everything they can to twist your words around to work against you in court.

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A Florida man is facing sex crimes charges after he was accused of a molesting a Flagler County teenager in January.

Flagler County deputies were apparently contacted Jan. 4 about a sex offense in Palm Coast. They investigated and claim the man allegedly molested a child between 12-18 years old.

After the allegations were reported to authorities, the accused left the area and had been living in Cape Coral until he was arrested earlier this month on charges of sexual battery and lewd/lascivious molestation.

He was returned to Flagler County and is being held on $150,000 bond.

Sex crimes charges, like sexual battery and molestation, are very serious because they carry extremely harsh consequences if convicted. You could be facing years in prison and lifetime registration as a sexual offender. Due to the severity of these charges, you must act fast to protect yourself. You need to enlist the help of a Flagler County Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We specialize in sex crimes defense and can put our knowledge to work for you.

While every case is different, we will investigate every shred of evidence to find any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf. We cannot guarantee to get your charges dismissed or reduced, but we will fight aggressively to obtain an outcome that you can live with.

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A former Hillsborough County teacher arrested last week on charges of probation violation has had the charge dismissed.

The 39-year-old was in court Tuesday for a hearing that she violated her probation for taking pictures with a friend’s 12-year-old daughter in a Clearwater Beach restaurant.

A judge dismissed the violation Tuesday, and she’ll be released Wednesday.

The woman made news in the Bay area in 2010 when she pleaded guilty to having sex with teen students.

She served six years in prison on lewd and lascivious battery charges and was released in 2016.

The woman reported the recent incident to her probation officer. Her probation prohibits any contact with minors unless approved by the court. She was arrested July 19.

The terms of probation can be very restrictive. You are expected to live your normal life while following strict procedures. You cannot travel too far from a fixed point, you must report regularly to a probation officer, and you must not be arrested for or charged with any further offenses, among other things. Failure to comply with any of these areas could be considered a probation violation.

If you have recently been charged with violating the terms of your probation, you face serious criminal consequences. Whether done so intentionally or by accident, you are likely to face harsh consequences, including extended probation, hefty fines, or sentenced to serve the remaining term of your original imprisonment. This all depends on individual circumstances – no two cases are the same.

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Pasco County authorities have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him with lewd and lascivious molestation at a county library.

The man accused was a library volunteer when the incident was reported but has since been terminated.

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, a 14-year-old boy claims the man “enticed him to engage in sexual activity.”

The report also said four other juveniles were present at the time gave the same version of events.

Pasco County Libraries said Friday afternoon that a background check was completed on the man in late January and that his first shift was worked on Feb. 9.

He was dismissed from his volunteer position on May 7.

While molestation charges are very serious, especially when it involves a minor child, there are also many cases where a person is falsely accused of a crime they did not commit. Sadly, false accusations are quite common and can wreak havoc on the life of the individual who has been wrongly accused.

If you have been arrested or accused of a sex crime you did not commit, you need to speak with a sex crimes attorney right away. Your reputation and future are at stake, and our Pasco County Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton do not take false accusations lightly. We are dedicated to aggressively defending those accused of sex crimes so that they can avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction.

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A 27-year-old Sorrento man was arrested on child pornography charges Friday, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The man was booked into the Lake County Jail with bail set at $50,000, the FDLE said.

According to an agency spokeswoman, agents began investigating the man in February after determining suspected child-porn files had been downloaded through an IP address associated with his house.

Agents apparently searched the house, allegedly finding at least 10 files of child pornography on his laptop. At least one of the files depicted a child younger than 5, according to reports. The laptop was seized for a more-thorough search.

The man will be prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is directed by the Florida Constitution to prosecute crimes that impact two or more judicial circuits in the State of Florida. Working regularly with state and federal counterparts, the office focuses on complex, often large scale, organized criminal activity.

If you are under investigation for child pornography, our Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to refrain from speaking to law enforcement until you have spoken with us. Anything you say or do prior to an actual arrest can be used against you in a court of law. Federal investigators are highly trained to gather confessions from those accused of sex crimes, such as child pornography. Standard protocol for police is to locate suspects and make a surprise visit to request an interview. We want you to know you have rights and can politely decline their request to discuss these matters until legal counsel is present.

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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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