A recent story out of Lakeland is a good reminder that no one is above the law when it comes to sex crimes. Not even law enforcement officers.
A police officer at Florida Polytechnic University in January was arrested and charged with sexual battery and a number of other charges related to alleged offenses against a family member. Law enforcement officials say the 57-year-old man has been threatening the unidentified woman for some seven years. That includes allegedly forcing her to have sex with him by threatening to make public nude photos of the victim.
“He viciously, he maliciously, he sadistically, extorted her, manipulated her, threatened her and played mind games with her and it was all for sex,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters after the arrest.
The man, who previously worked as a police officer in Nashville, Tenn., was charged with sexual battery and domestic aggravated stalking. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says the victim has hundreds of expletive-riddled text messages to back up the allegations. It also said that at least some of the alleged offenses happened while the victim was minor.
“Sex crime” is a general term that is often used in Florida to refer refers to various offenses that involve unwanted sexual contact and other related behavior. Sexual battery is the legal term for rape, which generally covers all kinds of forcible sexual activity.
Statutory rape, which is also commonly called unlawful sex with a minor, is a separate criminal offense. It occurs when a person who is at least 24 years old has sexual contact with a person 17 years old or younger. That kind of sexual contact is a crime, even if it is consensual. Sexual assault is a similar, but separate group of offenses that fall short of rape.
Sexual battery, statutory rape, and sexual assault are serious crimes that come with the possibility of significant prison time and hefty fines. That’s not to mention the social stigma that can come with being a registered sex offender.
If you or a loved one has been charged with or is suspected of a sex crime in Florida, it is important to have an experienced attorney in your corner.
The Florida sex crime lawyers at Whittel & Melton represent clients throughout the Sunshine State who have been charged with a wide variety of offenses, including sexual assault, rape, internet solicitation and offenses involving victims who are minors. We work tirelessly to fight these charges head on in order to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible.
Our firm has offices throughout the state, including in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola. Contact us online or call (866) 608-5529 for a free evaluation.
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