JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 9, 2020) — A retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s deputy faces capital sexual battery charges. He also faces lewd and lascivious molestation upon a child under twelve and molestation on a child between twelve and fifteen. Action News Jacksonville reported that the man accused of the sexual battery crimes retired in 1999 from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. The investigating officers believe that all potential victims of their former colleague. The investigating officers reported that their investigation involved allegations that happened several years before the alleged victims made their complaints. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office refused to say if the alleged perpetrator committed these crimes while employed with the department. *

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office authored a press release concerning the arrest of one of their own. In the release, which Action News Jacksonville quoted in full in its article, investigators claim that the suspect committed at least two counts of capital sexual battery, eleven counts of lewd or lascivious molestation on a person under twelve, and four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on a person between twelve and fifteen years of age.

The release further indicates that the investigators believe they identified every alleged victim in the returned police officer. Interestingly, however, they offer a $3,000.00 reward and promises of anonymity to anyone who provides additional information about the accused to investigators.

The current charges stem from conduct that allegedly took place several years before the victims reported the acts. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says that the accused committed numerous acts on “multiple” victims over many years. They did not say for how long the abuse occurred. Notwithstanding, the investigators said that they were able to identify more recent victims of the accused, along with more recent offenses. The police did not provide more specific information. Additionally, the police did not discuss the relationship the retired officer had with the victims if any, and during what years the abuse occurred. There was no information concerning the bond for the accused.

Led or lascivious molestation is an extremely serious crime in Florida. The Florida Statutes defines lewd or lascivious molestation as touching the genitals, genital area, breasts, or buttocks of another in a lewd or lascivious way. The offender need not touch skin to commit the crime. Rather, a person may commit the crime even if the touching was “over the clothes.” Furthermore, Section 4 of Chapter 800 of the Florida Statutes stipulates that the victim must be under sixteen to be a victim of lewd or lascivious molestation. Moreover, the crime is complete if the suspect forces or compels the person under sixteen to touch the offender, even if the offender never touched the victim.

The potential penalties for lewd or lascivious molestation in Florida are harsh. A person eighteen or older accused of lewd or lascivious molestation upon a person between twelve and sixteen faces a fifteen-year term of incarceration. Lewd and lascivious molestation in Florida is a second-degree felony in Florida. However, the crime could increase in severity to a first-degree felony if the offender was previously convicted of one or more acts of sexual battery, lewd or lascivious conduct, or other sexually motivated acts.