1. ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 29, 2019) - Baynews9.com writes that a 69-year-old man from Pinellas County is facing charges for the lewd and lascivious molestation of a child in relation to a crime he is alleged to have committed in 1997. The suspect is a registered sex offender, and the alleged victim is now a 31-year-old woman.

The victim reported the abuse to law enforcement officers in August of 2019 and stated that the suspect had inappropriately touched her when she was about seven or eight years old. The suspect was known to the woman at the time. The suspect admitted that on multiple occasions he had touched the woman when she was a child, and says the contact was over her clothing. 

Police determined that the suspect did have access to the victim during the time period in which the woman claimed the abuse occurred. 

Police stated that the alleged offender is monitored by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s Sexual Predator and Offender Tracking Unit. In 1997, the suspect was convicted for a similar crime against another child. The police brought the suspect into custody and charged him with one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of twelve. 

Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Child Laws in Florida

Lewd and Lascivious Molestation is a crime that involves consensual sexual interaction with a person under sixteen. This crime is less severe than the crime of lewd and lascivious battery, which is also referred to as statutory rape. Lewd and Lascivious Molestation is a strict liability crime in which means that even if the perpetrator did not know that the victim was under sixteen, and even if the contact was consensual, the perpetrator has still committed the crime. 

When the victim is under the age of twelve, the sentencing is more severe. A person convicted of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a child under the age of twelve will face a minimum 25-year sentence, lifetime probation as a sex offender, and a fine of $10,000. When the victim is over twelve, but under sixteen, the penalty is reduced, and the minimum sentence is 51 months in prison with two years of sex offender probation thereafter. 

Sex offender probation requires that a person convicted of a sex crime follow certain rules including reporting to a probation officer, allowing visits from a probation officer, work at a suitable job as long as able, live at a specified place or residence, refrain from violating any laws, not associate with anyone engaged in unlawful activity, support any legal dependents, comply with community service ordered by the court, pay court costs and attorney fees, pay court-ordered restitution to victims, repay medical costs incurred while incarcerated, not own or carry a gun, take drug and alcohol tests, submit to DNA tests, and take a digital photo which will be on the probation website during the supervisory period.