An 18-year-old Sebastian teen arrested for being involved in a same-sex relationship with a younger teen at her high school has recently had her bail revoked after she allegedly violated a court order to have no contact with the victim, who is also her girlfriend.
The same Indian River County circuit court judge that denied her bail has also added a new charge to her court record – transmitting material harmful to a minor by electronic equipment, a third-degree felony. The judge claims the evidence is overwhelming.
The accused turned herself in at the Indian River County Jail last month on the Sheriff’s Office charge of violating a court order to have no contact with the victim, a girlfriend from Sebastian River High School.
The teen faces two charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a child in the case, relating to alleged sexual contact with her then-14-year-old classmate and girlfriend.
The “overwhelming” evidence the judge speaks of apparently includes nude photos taken on several occasions at the accused’s house and numerous text messages between the girls. Prosecutors also allege that the pair was physically together at the end of July.
Prosecutors withdrew a plea deal, which would have kept the teen out of jail, after finding out the teen had contact with the victim, violating the court order.
The teen asked the Vero Beach bail bond company that posted her $5,000 bond back in February to return her to jail.
At this point, the teen will remain jailed until trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
The teen was charged in February with the two lewd and lascivious counts, and jailed. After posting $5,000 bond, she was released with the pretrial court order prohibiting her from contact with the victim.
Despite having a consensual relationship, under Florida law, it is illegal for an older teen to have sexual contact with a 14-year-old.
According to court records, sheriff’s investigators say that after the teen’s arrest on Feb. 16, she violated a court no-contact order by sending more than 20,000 text messages to the younger girl as well as some sexually explicit images via the Internet.
Prosecutors also allege that the accused’s mother was communicating with the victim, asking her to delete the alleged texts from her daughter.
Engaging in sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 is considered a felony in Florida. This law makes no exceptions for minors that engage in consensual sexual relationships, so sadly, this teen is looking at a lengthy prison sentence and the possibility of being labeled a sex offender if she is convicted. While the state of Florida has what is called “Romeo & Juliet” laws set in place to diminish the penalties for consenting minors within four years of age from each other, this law would only help the teen petition to remove her name from the Florida sex offender registry if she is convicted. This law cannot help to prevent the felony charges against her from being enforced regardless of the fact that the two consenting teens were within the four year age bracket when the alleged incidents occurred.
Sex crimes can be quite complex, as this case clearly demonstrates. If you or your child has been accused of or charged with a sex crime in Florida, don’t make the mistake of thinking these charges will just go away. A Vero Beach Lewd & Lascivious Conduct Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you understand the charges against you and make sure you fully understand all of your legal options. To begin receiving the legal help you need in Vero Beach or throughout the state of Florida, contact us today online or call us locally at 561-367-8777 or reach us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.
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