Lake COunty Judicial System- Sorely Lacking!!!
Am I the only one who thinks that the Lake County Sheriff's Office went just a wee bit overboard yesterday?
How did they ever come to the conclusion that an eleven year old with a homemade slingshot was a weapons wielding, menace to society? What's wrong with this picture?
I would be willing to bet any amount of money that at least one, if not more of the arresting officers in this case not only had slingshots as children, but actually shot one of their friends with it. So, when does a childish prank become a second degree felon and why?
Trust me, there are far more dangerous criminals wandering around Lake County than an eleven year old with a home made slingshot. If convicted of this "crime" this boy could face, what a couple of years in juvie? How stupid is that?
I'll tell you, Lake County has some serious issues with crime and punishment, and I know this first hand.
Let me give you a for instance. In Jan. of 2006, a 31 year old ,married, father of two young girls, was arrested for an L&L Battery on a child under the age of 16.
When questioned by the Sheriff's deputies, he made the statement that he didn't know how old the girl was, he thought she was maybe eleven or twelve! Eleven or twelve! He has an eleven year old daughter, and he thought the girl he had sex with was the same age as one of his daughters.
Okay, skip ahead. It is discovered that this man not only had sex with this child, who has some emotional problems, but he set the whole thing up on the computer, via emails and IMs.
So, he is arrested, and bails out. The States Attorney, Jonathan Olsen, tells the parties involved that he will serve prison time for this, even though the young girl in question admitted it was consensual sex. Okay, that works.
In the meantime, both children are removed form the home, the wife is told that she either move away from this man or lose custody of her daughter, while the oldest daughter is removed as well, but not given to her mother, who had some problems of her own.
Okay, so Mom moves out, so she can have her daughter with her, but the other child, well, let's just say that Lake County in its infinite wisdom chose to place the oldest daughter with the paternal grandparents, who happened to live right next door to the father. Kind of defeats the whole removal process, doesn't it? Bear in mind that the father has been denied the right to have his children with him during the duration of the criminal case, and is not permitted to visit with them except in the presence of a DFACS worker.
In March, Guardians Ad Litem were appointed to both girls. The Guardian's purpose is to represent the children in cases like this, and with their help, the oldest daughter was eventually given to her mother, after exhaustive investigation and home visits.
The father was then allowed supervised visits with both girls. But, the catch for that was, the mothers had to drive to the appointed place at the time specified by DFACS, and they were not allowed to be with their children while these visits took place, under the, umm, "careful supervision" of a case worker.
From March until late September, these visits took place, and always at the father's convenience. The mothers in this case were never considered, nor were the wishes of the girls. The oldest girl did not want to see her father, you see the girl he had sex with was one of her friends. She was disappointed, she lost all respect for her father, she was clearly upset over the whole sordid mess, and all she wanted was to be left alone, to live her life with her Mother in relative peace and quite.
But, DFACS, in their infinite wisdom made it abundantly clear that was not to be. The oldest daughter, as well as the mother of the youngest daughter was constantly reminded that should the father receive only probation in this case, the family would be re-unified. Meaning quite simply that the girls would be returned to their father. The same man who admitted to having sex with a child.
While all of these forced visits were taking place, the criminal case against the man stalled out. His attorney asked for and was granted one continuation after another for a full year. A year!
Phone calls to the State's Attorney did little to assure those involved that justice would indeed be served. Those involved were repeatedly assured that the perp would indeed serve a prison sentence, and you know what? They lied.
Finally, after a year, the man was given two years probation! Two years probation! He was registered as a sex offender and he voluntarily gave up all rights to his children so he doesn't have to pay a single dime of child support for either child.
So answer me this? What's wrong with the justice system in Lake County? We've all read or heard on the news about the men who only solicited sex with minors over the web and received thirty-five years in prison, and this guy not only admitted to having sex with this minor, but to also setting up the date over the Internet and he gets two lousy years probation and has no responsibility to the two children he fathered.
This decision was ludicrous and personally, I think Olsen dropped the ball on this. Lake County is NOT a safe place for our children when the powers that be allow an admitted child molester to walk free, but want to try and convict an eleven year old for a childish prank. Those who voted this man into office need to start a recall petition!
As matter of fact, the whole system in Florida is screwed up, but that's for another day!