Santa Rosa County, FL (February 24, 2019) - A man from Gulf Breeze was arrested on February 19th on charges related to sexual abuse of a young child.

55-year-old Thomas Richard Lawlis, who lives in the 3200 Block of Clemson Road, was taken into custody by authorities with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department. According to reports, a woman came forward to police in 2016 and told them that Lawlis began sexually molesting her in 1995 and that the abuse continued until 2007. The woman was about 4 or 5 years old at the time the abuse allegedly began in 2005.

Lawlis, who has a 1998 conviction for sexual battery in Escambia County, was interviewed by police. He denied the allegations made by the woman but was ultimately arrested anyway. He was charged with sexual assault on a victim under age 12 and taken to the Santa Rosa County Jail, where he was held on a $505,000 bond.

Santa Rosa County Sex Crimes Laws

A sex crimes charge in Santa Rosa County can seriously impact your life and your future. Most Florida sex crimes are felonies and can land you in prison for a few months up to life, depending on the nature of the charges. Additionally, if you are convicted of a sex offense, you will likely have to register on the statewide sex offender registry. There is a tremendous stigma associated with being a registered sex offender and you will also be closely monitored by authorities as to where you are living and working at all times. A violation of the sex offender registry rules is a crime in and of itself.

When you are facing such a serious charge, you need aggressive representation. At Musca Law, our Santa Rosa County criminal defense lawyers practice in Navarre and the surrounding communities. We know that sex crimes cases are some of the most difficult that come through the court system. However, we are also aware that the evidence associated with these charges does not stack up in every case. There may be holes in the accuser's story or a lack of physical evidence tying you to the crime. We will investigate all of the surrounding circumstances and plan your best defense.

For your free consultation with one of our Navarre criminal defense lawyers, please give us a call at (888) 484-5057.