TALLAHASSEE, FL - May 7, 2020 - According to an online news report published on the new website Tallahassee.com, an Apalachee Center employee was arrested on May 4, 2020. The news story states that the suspect was arrested and charged after he allegedly had sexual contact with a female mental health patient. The report claims the suspect worked with the victim in one of the center's counseling groups.
According to court documents reported in the news article, the 23-year-old suspect has been charged with "employee having sex with a mental patient." This crime is a felony in the second-degree in the state of Florida. The suspect has been processed and booked into the Leon County Detention Facility. The news story also reports that the suspect has been terminated from his job at Apalachee Center. Apalachee Center is a mental health center offering both inpatient and outpatient care for individuals suffering from addictions and mental health issues.
The news article also alleges that the victim reported the incident to the Tallahassee Police Department two months ago. The woman stated to police that her "peer specialist" in her counseling group had sexually battered her. The victim explained to investigators with the Tallahassee Police Department that she and the suspect were walking the Apalachee Center campus. She stated that she did not know the suspect very well, and the two of them sat at a picnic table. She explained that she and the suspect were alone and far away from any other person on the campus. According to the news story which quotes the arrest records, the victim said the suspect forced himself onto her, and "she performed oral sex on him," because she was afraid and could not get help. Then the two left the picnic table to return back to the counseling group.
The suspect confessed to having sexual contact with the victim; however, the suspect claimed the encounter was "consensual," according to the arrest report quoted in the news article. The suspect then told investigators that after both he and the victim apologized for what transpired. The suspect stated that ¨lust took over their actions," according to the arrest report. The suspect then was quoted in the news story, and police arrest report that "he felt what they were doing was wrong...and told her to stop."
The Apalachee Center issued a statement in response to the criminal allegations against their former employee, which stated, "Apalachee Center, Inc., has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of inappropriate contact between staff and clients...the staff member in question was terminated from employment."
According to court records, prosecutors in the criminal case had approved the criminal charge against the suspect because of his position as the victim's "peer specialist" and "recovery coach."
Florida Statute 394.4593 - Sexual Misconduct Prohibited; Reporting Required; Penalties
According to Florida Statute 394.4593, it is against the law for an employee to have sexual relations with a patient who is receiving treatment or is at a treatment facility, even if the patient consents to sexual activity.