FORT MYERS, FL - May 14, 2020 - According to an online news story published on NBC-2.com, a Fort Myers man was arrested after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend and punched her three-year-old daughter in the face. The attack reportedly occurred at the Lehigh Acres 7-Eleven, which is located on Homestead Road North and Lee Boulevard, according to the arrest report at the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
On May 7, 2020, the 45-year-old suspect was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff's Office after some witnesses to the alleged attack came forward to report what they had seen. The statements given by the witnesses to the Lee County Sheriff's Office alleged the 45-year-old suspect began striking his girlfriend while they were in a motor vehicle parked at the gasoline pumps. The witnesses stated that the girlfriend while holding her three-year-old daughter, exited the motor vehicle, and the suspect continued to attack his girlfriend. According to eyewitnesses, the suspect struck the three-year-old girl in the face. The suspect's punch landed on the child's chin. The victim of the alleged attack then escaped and ran into a nearby CVS pharmacy and dialed 911 for help. When a Lee County Sheriff's Office deputy arrived, the eyewitnesses reported that the suspect kicked, spat, and even threatened to cause them physical harm.
The suspect was arrested and now faces several charges, including cruelty toward a child. The suspect has a history of attacking the girlfriend and her child. The suspect also has a history of child abuse charges. In January, the suspect was arrested for allegedly breaking into the apartment of his girlfriend, and making threats of physical injury with a deadly weapon (knife).
A spokeswoman for the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center said,
"It's really hard to change behaviors of some people, especially when they get to a certain age," She also stated that it is very common for victims of domestic violence to return to their abusers. In some cases, the victims will return to their abusers even after the abuser has been incarcerated for an extended period of time. She also stated that the abusers promise that the violence will stop, but in her experience, the violence never stops.
The suspect is in custody at the Lee County Jail and was given a $125,000 bail bond. The news story states that the victim's mother reported that her daughter has custody of her daughter, and a restraining order (injunction) has been filed against the suspect.
Florida Statute 741.30 - Domestic Violence Injunctions
According to Florida Statute 741.30, Domestic Violence Injunctions are also known as a "restraining order." A Domestic Violence Injunction may be filed by an individual who is the victim of an act of domestic violence, and the cause of action for an injunction can be filed by a household member or by a family member. The victim and the offender do not have to be married in order for the victim to seek injunctive relief through the courts.