News website NBC Miami reports that a Miami-Dade police officer has been arrested. The 24-year old officer is being accused of
lewd and lascivious molestation of two teenage girls whom the officer encountered during a traffic stop.
The arrest report states that the officer, a four-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department, pulled over a car in which the two teenage girls were passengers. It is alleged that the officer asked the young girls to step out of the car and accompany him to his patrol car. It is there where he allegedly fondled them one at a time.
The officer appeared in bond court
Friday, and has been relieved of duty without pay.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Stacy Glick ordered the officer held on a $150,000 bond. This is an unusally high bond for two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. However, Judge Glick reasoned that a high bond was necessary due to the fact that the accused allegedly abused his position of authority in order to take advantage of two young girls.
Lewd and lascivious molestation can be defined under Florida law as follows:
LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS MOLESTATION.--
A person who intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or forces or entices a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator, commits lewd or lascivious molestation.
An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age commits a life felony.
An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age; or
An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age commits a felony of the second degree.
An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age commits a felony of the third degree.
As you can see, it is considered lewd and lascivious molestation to touch somebody over their clothes. This is possibly what occurred in this officer's case.
Since the officer is 24 and the girls are 14, the charge is a second-degree felony. Since their are two alleged victims, he will fact two counts. His maximum exposure may be up to 30 years in prison. If convicted, he will have to register as a sex offender