Few crimes carry the same social stigma as child sexual abuse. The mere hint of impropriety involving a minor can unravel a person’s career, reputation, and lead to serious criminal charges. Unfortunately, child sex abuse is a serious problem in Florida. According to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, about 44 percent of sexual assault and rape victim are legal minors–persons under the age of 18–and about 15 percent are children who have not yet celebrated their 12th birthdays.
Orlando Man Charged With Sexually Abusing Toddler in Bathroom
Recently, residents of the Orlando area were shocked to hear reports that a local daycare provider had been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a 2-year-old toddler in a restaurant bathroom. An eyewitness told police that he observed the accused and the child through a crack in the bathroom stall door. When the witness went to exit the bathroom, he said the accused ran him over in his wheelchair and threatened to kill him. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the accused later confessed while in police custody.
Officially the man is charged with a number of offenses including sexual battery. Under Section 794.011 of the Florida Statutes, sexual battery refers to any act involving “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration” with another sexual organ or object. When, as alleged in the case above, an adult commits sexual battery against a person under the age of 12, it is a capital felony–i.e., a crime punishable by life imprisonment.
The accused is also charged with lewd or lascivious molestation. Section 800.04 of the Florida Statutes defines this as intentionally touching the genitals or “genital area” of someone under the age of 16. When the offender is an adult and the victim is under 12, Florida charges this offense as a life felony, which carries a minimum prison sentence of 40 years.
A Florida Child Sex Crimes Conviction Follows You For Life
As you can see, Florida takes sex crimes against children extremely seriously. Even in cases where the defendant does not spend decades–or the rest of his or her life–in prison, a child sex abuse conviction does not go away even after a sentence is served. That is because Florida requires virtually anyone convicted in the U.S. of a sex crime involving a child to register as a “sexual predator” for life.
Registration is not a minor inconvenience. Florida restricts where registered sexual predators may live and work. For instance, under Section 775.215 of the Florida Statutes a person convicted of a sex crime against someone under the age of 16 cannot live within 1,000 feet of any preexisting “school, child care facility, park, or playground.”
Given the potential life-altering consequences of a child sex abuse allegation, it is critical you have experienced counsel at your side when dealing with police, prosecutors, and the courts. The Orlando sex crimes defense lawyers at Moses & Rooth can help. Call us today at (407) 377-0150 if you are facing allegations or charges of sexually abusing a child and require immediate legal advice on how to proceed.