Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

After 3.5 hours of deliberations, a Broward County jury acquitted a Pembroke Pines man of molesting his two stepdaughters three years ago, as they had accused. The 52-year-old was facing a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted on the charges, which included four counts of capital sexual battery, eight counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and a single count of lewd and lascivious conduct. courtroom

In closing arguments, prosecutors asserted there was no possible way defendant could innocently explain the conduct the two girls described. The accusers, now ages 11 and 14, alleged defendant touched them inappropriately, bathed with them and one claimed he shaved her. Prosecutors claimed there was no justification for any of this.

As our Broward defense attorneys know, one would have a difficult time justifying such actions – if such actions were proven. However, the facts of this case persuaded jurors to find there was a lack of proof these incidents actually happened in the first place. Perhaps a significant part of that was the fact that the allegations didn’t surface until the divorce proceedings filed by their mother were nearing an end. The pair reportedly had a brief marriage which was also tumultuous. The girls say they didn’t come forward initially because they did not understand that the contact he was initiating was unusual. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, assert the story was dreamed up by the girls’ mother as a way to escape from the marriage without jeopardizing her immigration status.  Continue reading

A 20-year-old sheriff’s deputy from Broward County has been arrested for allegedly attempting to extort sex from a security guard by threatening to charge him with possession of crack cocaine. policecar

Deputies from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested Trazell McLeod, alleging he groped the male guard during a purported search and then demanded sex on a regular basis in exchange for not falsifying charges of drug possession and prostitution. McLeod is accused of propositioning the guard and even showing up at his house while he was on patrol in Pompano Beach. At one point during the encounter, the guard, concerned for his safety, fled on foot and jumped a fence and hid behind a cluster of bushes until his wife arrived. The guard and his wife returned home to see a patrol car parked in their driveway, so they drove past and spent the evening in a hotel. The following day, the guard reported the incident to investigators with the sheriff’s department’s internal affairs office. He also assisted them in gathering evidence used to obtain McLeod’s arrest warrant.

McLeod is facing charges of extortion, official misconduct and tampering with/ fabricating evidence. F.S. 836.05, threats/ extortion, states that anytime someone – verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse someone of a crime or to expose a secrete affecting the other or impute “some deformity or lack of chastity” in order to extort money or “any pecuniary advantage” or to compel someone to do something against their will, it’s a second-degree felony. That means it’s punishable by 15 years in prison. Tampering with evidence, meanwhile, is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, according to F.S. 918.13. Official misconduct, per F.S. 838.022, is also a third-degree felony.  Continue reading

As our technology rapidly evolves, so too must our justice system. As we are often faced with ever-newer technological frontiers, courts are often grappling with how the law should be applied. computer1

One such case recently before the Florida Supreme Court highlights this. In Smith v. State, the court was asked to resolve a conflict between this ruling handed down by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in 2015 and an earlier ruling in 2013 in Biller v. State by Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal. At issue was whether the use of a file-sharing program for purposes of disseminating child pornography in fact violates the statutory prohibition on transmitting child porn.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled: Yes, it does. That means the precedent set by the 5th DCA is overturned, and those who transmit illegal sexual images of children via  file-sharing program can be charged under F.S. 847.0137. Continue reading

A U.S. Army sergeant is facing serious felony charges after the 26-year-old reportedly showed up at an agreed-upon location with lubricant, candy, condoms and cash for what he thought would be an encounter with two young girls, ages 12 and 14.computer1

Instead, was greeted by agents with both the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He apparently did not realize he had been communicating with an undercover law enforcement officer.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Alexis Kirk Torres was reportedly in the process of transferring from Hawaii to a new base for a different assignment. However, he now faces charges of soliciting or enticing underage children to engage in a commercial sex act. Continue reading

Often when a law enforcement officer is working long hours, it’s a sign of diligence. However, for the colleagues of Broward County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kreg Costa, suspicions were heightened because the road duty supervisor was staying in his office during and after his shift with the lights off and uniform and gun belt removed. Staffers who witnessed his behavior called it “bizarre.” police2

Detectives with the agency’s public corruption unit launched an investigation that included asking for computer use reports from the sergeant’s work laptop from January to March. That’s when they found images of hardcore pornography, bondage and incest-related sites. Further he was reportedly engaging in sexually explicit messages with a 16-year-old girl on both video chats and Twitter. Costa allegedly instructed the California teen to record herself engaged in sexual activity.

Costa was arrested when he arrived at work for a scheduled training. He has been suspended without pay and faces a total of 29 serious criminal charges, including soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using a computer, use of a child in sexual performance, possession of child pornography and lewd lascivious battery. Continue reading

There was little doubt that the probation officer had sex with his charge. The video evidence provided by the alleged victim was pretty straightforward proof of that. speechbubblesoversmartphone

But was it rape?

Zachary Thomas Bailey, 52, was arrested on two counts of sexual battery by coercion back in March 2015. But this month, just days before he was slated to go on trial for rape, prosecutors dropped the charges.

The cell phone video was provided to police in Coral Springs when she accused Bailey of rape. But when prosecutors watched the video, it revealed the unclothed woman directing Bailey on how to sexually favor her. State prosecutors announced in court they would not be pursuing the charges, and although they did not specify the reasoning, a memo from the state attorney’s office indicated the video evidence contradicted the rape claim made by the accuser. On top of that, prosecutors noted in the memo that the accuser’s extensive criminal history and potential immigration issues may have made it very tough to garner a conviction. Specifically, they serve to substantiate the defense theory that plaintiff had an ulterior motive in falsely accusing Bailey.  Continue reading

Gerard Nelson was just 24-years-old, but he and his crew – the Str8Profit Boyz – were on the rise. handcuffs1

To those on the outside, it appeared they were living a luxurious lifestyle funded by their creativity and business savvy as rappers and music producers.

In reality, authorities say Nelson and his cohorts were actually making their money selling sex and drugs. Now, Nelson is the first of his co-defendants to be convicted. He is the first Broward County man to be deemed guilty under  human trafficking laws passed two years ago, according to The Sun Sentinel. He now faces life in prison.  Continue reading

The alleged gang rape of a Florida Atlantic University student at last year’s “South Florida Oil Spill” party remains unsolved as event organizers prepared to host the party again this year. It will be the seventh annual for the event, in which 600 to 800 college students from across the state pack into a party spot and pay a $30 flat-rate for all-you-can-drink and live music. nightclub

According to the Sun Sentinel, it was at this event at the Wayne Barton center just two miles off campus in Boca Raton last year that a young woman, separated from her friends while dancing in the center of the gym, was allegedly dragged off the dance floor, guided briefly onto the main stage and then pulled into an enclave to the left of the stairs. There, she would later tell authorities, the men pulled a curtain over her head and took turns raping her.

Today, there are no suspects and no arrests, but authorities say they are hoping for a break in the case, which at this point will hinge on DNA evidence. When the woman was taken to the hospital – hours after the alleged attack – there were traces of semen found inside her. At this point, that may be the only way to identify those allegedly involved.  Continue reading

Typically when we talk about “revenge porn,” it’s an act of cyber sexual harassment committed by former romantic partners. The majority of cases involve men posting sexually suggestive or explicit photographs of their former wives or girlfriends.leg

But in a recent case out of Illinois, it involves a woman who is accused of posting private sexual images of her former best friend since grade school.

The Daily Beast reports the 38-year-old defendant, Stephanie Kaczmarek, is charged with unlawful dissemination of private sexual images – also known as “revenge porn” – a felony in Illinois. Police announced her arrest earlier this month.  Continue reading

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” goes the old saying.handcuffs1

And this is as true for a defendant as it is the victim. That’s because when cases are filed five, 10 or 20 years or more after an alleged crime, it becomes exceedingly difficult to challenge the veracity of the charges. Witness memories fade. People retire. Others die. Receipts that might have verified or disproved certain elements are gone. Records are trashed.

That’s why if you are accused of a Broward sex crime that involves years-old allegations, you must hire an experienced defense attorney to help ensure your rights are protected.

One such case was recently reported by The Sun Sentinel, involving a Pembroke Pines defendant accused of raping one child and molesting another two decades ago. Continue reading

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