Sex crimes in Florida are placed into three categories of offenses:
1. Sexual battery and rape
2. Lewd or lascivious acts
3. Unlawful sex with minors
Within these categories, various sub categories exist.
1. Sexual Battery or Rape
This happens when non-consensual sex has happened through coercion, force or incapacitation.
2. Lewd or Lascivious Acts
These acts are often committed on a person younger than 16, although it also includes public exposure. The four crimes people are charged with most often under lewd and lascivious acts are:
Two factors are of particular importance with lewd and lascivious acts. Firstly, ignorance of the age of the victim is not a defense. Secondly, the actual age of the victim is irrelevant, meaning that if both parties are under age, both can be charged and prosecuted.
3. Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors
This crime is most often referred to as Statutory Rape. It happens when someone over the age of 24 has consensual sex with a minor who is 16 or 17.
Below are the laws and penalties for the most common accusations of sex crimes. Each of these fits in one of the categories above. However, there are various other types of sex crimes as well, including prostitution, solicitation, capital sexual battery, failure to register, sexual battery of people with a mental or physical disability or the elderly, spousal rape, voyeurism and traveling to meet a minor, to name a few.
Laws and Penalties
The laws and penalties for sex crimes are incredibly harsh and they vary depending on the exact crime. As such:
• Child molestation: A prison sentence from 5 years to life, as well as lifelong registration as a sexual offender and/or sexual predator.
• Child pornography: Possession carries a maximum sentence of five years. Production carries a sentence of five years to life. Registration on the sex offenders register is also common.
• Date rape: 6.5 to 30 years in prison without parole. Fines. Registration as a sex offender and/or sexual predator.
• Sexual exploitation: Up to life in prison, mandatory counseling, registration as a sex offender and/or sexual predator.
• Indecent exposure: Fines of up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to one year, signing the sex offenders register.
• Internet solicitation: Up to five years in prison or up to 15 years if you solicited a minor.
• Rape: Between 5 and 15 years in prison, lifetime signing of the register as a sex offender and sexual predator.
• Sexual abuse: Fines, prison sentences. If the act was on a child under the age of 11, the prison sentence is 25 years to life.
• Sexual assault: Prison, fines, probation/parole, rehabilitation, counseling, signing the register as a sex offender/sexual predator for life.
Sex Crimes Defenses
Common defenses against sex crimes vary depending on the exact situation. As such:
• Child molestation: it can be very difficult to use a child testimony in a case. Additionally, it can be demonstrated that a jury is skewed due to the nature of the alleged crime.
• Child pornography: Software files downloaded unbeknownst to the defendant. Not knowing the child was a minor.
• Date rape: stating the sexual act was consensual. Suggesting the accusation is made due to alternative reasons such as anger towards the defendant.
• Sexual exploitation: Not knowing that someone was being sexually exploited.
• Indecent exposure: Sexual organs were not exposed, the location was not public, the method was not intended to be lewd, the exposure was not indecent or vulgar.
• Internet solicitation: An unawareness of the age of the other. Believing messages were consensual.
• Rape: Consent, factual evidence, mistaken identity.
• Sexual abuse: Consent, mistaken identity.
• Sexual assault: Consent
Statute of Limitations
There is no overarching statute of limitations for sex crimes in Florida, mainly because it is such a wide area of law. Crimes against children, for instance, carry no statute of limitations, whereas other types of sexual crimes carry a statute of limitations of 25 years.
Sex Crimes Cases
• Sex-slavery suspect pimped girl in Orlando, elsewhere, feds allege – A man from North Carolina allegedly forced a minor to sell herself for sex in Atlanta and Orlando.
• Online chats led to sex for man, 27, and girl, 15, Plantation cops say – A 27 year old man planned to meet a 15 year old for sex at her home following online contact.
• Lake Wales Police Sergeant Resigns Amid Investigation Into Allegations He Had Sex With Minor – A police sergeant from Lake Wales has resigned following allegations he had sex with a minor.
• Ex-assistant state attorney charged in Sept. voyeurism case – Allegedly, former 8th Circuit Assistant State Attorney William Ezzell used his telephone to record videos of a woman in a changing room.
• Pinellas Park teen charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy – A boy in Pinellas Park has allegedly been assaulted dozens of times by now 18 year old Zilix Evan Ramos when he was 11 and 12.