Former Florida Soccer Coach Convicted Of Molestation Charges
As parents, we trust teachers and coaches to act in a professional manner toward our children. Those in these positions, however, are human, just like the rest of us. Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes these mistakes are illegal and those who commit them must face the consequences.
A former soccer coach from Flagler was recently convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation charges. On April 11, the 36-year-old man was convicted of five counts of the charge for molesting three boys who played on his soccer team. The incidents took place between January 2014 and April 2016. The boys were between the ages of 12 and 16.
The man pled no contest to the charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Once he is released from prison, he will face an additional 15 years on probation as a sex offender. This was part of a plea deal between the man’s attorney and the assistant state attorney.
The coach is well-known in the soccer community throughout Florida. He was a coach at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and various youth programs throughout Flagler County. He was also a coach for the Player Development Academy, which has since closed.
The coach was originally charged with sexual offenses against students. He was arrested for two counts of this charge while in Washington in October 2016. He was bailed out and he turned himself in to police that December. He was in jail for eight weeks until he was released on a $50,000 bond.
In October 2017, authorities found out about a third victim and added three more charges. The man molested the boy multiple times before and after school and at the man’s apartment in Flagler Beach.
The coach often took the boys on trips and told their families to trust him. The families of the victims are upset that the man manipulated them and took advantage of their children.
What is Lewd and Lascivious Molestation?
Under Florida Statutes 800.04, lewd and lascivious molestation involves touching a person’s breasts, buttocks or genitals in a sexual manner. The penalties depend on the ages of the victim and perpetrator. When a person over the age of 18 commits this crime on a victim under the age of 12, it is considered a life felony. Life felonies are the most serious crimes in Florida, resulting in a $15,000 fine and life in prison.
When the perpetrator is under age 18 and the victim is under age 12, lewd and lascivious molestation is considered a second degree felony. It is also a second degree felony when the perpetrator is over age 18 and the victim is between ages 12 and 16. This is punishable by a $5,000 fine, five years in prison and five years of probation.
Contact a Dade City Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior or a similar crime, it’s important to seek legal help early on. An attorney skilled in this area of criminal defense can assess your case and formulate a strong defense.
The Dade City attorneys at Mander Law Group can help. We understand Florida law and will guide you through the process so you can preserve your legal rights. For a consultation, contact our office at (800) 557-0411.