Teen in Florida Rejects Plea Offer

An 18-year-old woman in Indian River county was charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a 14-year-old girl. The case became widely known when the family of the 18-year-old girl took to social media, claiming it was a false accusation because it was a consensual relationship. However, in Florida, children under 16 are not legally allowed to consent to a sexual relationship.

The plea deal offered by the Indian River County Prosecutor’s Office would have required the 18-year-old woman to enter a no contest plea to the child abuse charge and spend two years in a process known as community control. This generally requires close supervision and is followed by a year of probation. The plea deal paperwork also indicated that she would have to cease all contact with the 14-year-old, give a probation officer access to her phone and internet records. In a statement released by her attorney it is alleged that the 18-year-old woman is an upstanding citizen placed in a school environment with the 14-year-old girl by the state. When a relationship developed in the environment, she was subject to prosecution.

The parent’s of the 14-year-old girl feel the plea agreement was lenient. The 18-year-old woman was going to avoid jail time and having to register as a sex offender. The parents also feel that their daughter’s innocence was taken away. They’d hoped the case would be resolved at this point, but they are prepared for a trial in mid-July.

Sex crimes can be a serious matter; especially if a minor is involved. An individual who is charged with any type of sex crime may want to allow a criminal attorney to review the circumstances of the case since crimes of a sexual nature are often felonies. A felony conviction may follow the individual for a lifetime and limit both job and educational opportunities.

Source: CNN Justice, “Florida teen rejects plea deal in controversial same-sex case“, Ashley Fantz, May 26, 2013


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