Sex Offender Accused of Punching Girls in the Wave Pool at Disney Water Park
A 39-year-old sex offender was jailed Friday after three girls accused him of punching them in their genitals and pulling down their swimsuits while they were in the wave pool at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park on Thursday.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the alleged victims and the man were inside the wave pool when the supposed incidents occurred.
The children told police the man punched them and pulled their bathing suits down while the waves were in motion.
One alleged victim told police she was punched so hard in her genitals that it caused a burning sensation.
A witness of the supposed events claimed the man ducked under water and kissed one of the girls’ buttocks.
A Disney employee was notified and apparently removed the man from the pool and escorted him and his wife to the park office where he was interviewed by a deputy. He was issued a trespass warning for all Disney properties and transported to the Orange County Jail where he was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.
The three girls are related and were vacationing with their family.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the man is a registered sex offender convicted of molesting a girl between the ages of 12 and 15 in 2002.
The foundation of an allegation of lewd and lascivious molestation involves a sexually motivated intent. Lack of lewd intent can be used as a defense against these types of charges if it can be proved that no lewd or lascivious intent was involved when contact was made.
Lewd and lascivious molestation is a very serious criminal offense, but can be defendable if a qualified sex crimes defense attorney is consulted as soon as possible. Any touching of a child with the intent to sexually arouse the person or child can represent a lewd or lascivious act under the definition of the law. In fact, the touching itself does not need to done in an inherently lewd manner, and could even be outwardly perceived as innocent. Contact can be made with a victim’s bare skin or through their clothes. It is a common misconception that in order for this crime to be charged contact must be made with private parts or genitalia.
The circumstances are highly relevant to whether the touching performed was done to sexually arouse the accused or the child. A prosecutor will consider various factors such as the defendant’s statement to law enforcement, if the accused has any previous lewd conduct charges against him, the relationship between the accused and the victim and if any bribery was used to persuade the victim from reporting the crime.
If you or someone you care for has been charged with lewd and lascivious molestation or conduct in Orange County or elsewhere in the state of Florida, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call our Orlando office toll-free at 866-608-5529.