Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

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

A criminal case for lewd lascivious molestation against a Weston foot doctor has ended in mistrial after a recorded phone conversation played for jurors violated Florida’s spousal privilege statute. hands1

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Broward Circuit Judge Raag Singhal made the call after jurors heard a recorded call between defendant, Dr. Augustine Bollo, and the alleged victim’s mother in which the mother alleged Bollo’s wife did not believe he was innocent.

Singhal considered the defense attorney’s request for mistrial after the tape was played, and after reviewing case law, granted that request.  Continue reading

Prosecutors say Pelayo Alexander Cerulia grew increasingly brazen with his exploits over the course of two years. He allegedly started by peering into the homes of unsuspecting women. Then he started doing so while touching himself. Then, he began shattering their windows with marbles fired from a slingshot. Then, in the most serious incident, he is accused of trying to break into a woman’s home this past July, demanding that she show her breasts and bragging he would never be caught. windows

The Sun-Sentinel reports Cerulia was terrorizing the same five women (and possibly others) over the course of 24 months. The women tearfully spoke publicly about these repeated encounters and Cerulia turned himself into police two days later, on New Year’s Eve.

Initially, prosecutors argued the judge should set no bond in the case, arguing the 43-year-old defendant was a danger to the community. But defense argued there was a significant flaw in the eyewitness account provided by the woman who alleged attempted burglary: She described a man who was “Irish-looking” with “reddish complexion” who was a “pasty white guy.” His client’s skin is tan and his hair is dark and graying near his temples. He also has thick black eyebrows.  Continue reading

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