The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested a Navarre man for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a minor under the age of 16. The victim supposedly told investigators that the man was a summer camp counselor at a recreation center in the area.
According to police reports, the victim and the man began chatting on Facebook earlier this year which progressed to text messaging and phone calls, all leading up to face-to-face meetings.
The victim told police she had a sexual relationship with her camp counselor. The man supposedly admitted to police that he had a sexual relationship with the victim.
He is being held in Santa Rosa County jail with no bond.
According to the National Crime Prevention Center, 96 percent of teens use social networking applications such as Facebook, MySpace, chat rooms and blogs while 69 percent of teens habitually receive online messages from strangers and don’t tell a parent or caregiver. According to the FBI, chat rooms offer the benefit of instant communication around the world and provide the pedophile/predator with an unidentified method of recruiting children into sexually illicit relationships. Law enforcement officials estimate that more than 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given time.
The 2009 Florida statutes forbid a person over the age of 18 to date or be involved in a sexual relationship with a person who has not reached the age of 16. While the statutes do not define dating, they do have provisions that allow courts to interpret dating as a form of sexual activity. Any person over the age of 18 who lures a person under the age of 16 to touch him or her commits the crime of lewd and lascivious molestation. Most “dating” relationships involve some level of touching or physical contact. Consent from a person under the age of 16 cannot be a defense for any sexual charges that erupt from a romantic relationship between an adult and a minor.
If you or someone you care for is facing sex crimes charges involving a minor, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers online or call 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).
The staff was very attentive and answered all my questions regarding my criminal case. I was very pleased with the outcome and professionalism. Crystal Vasquez
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