The Bizarre World of Florida

12 people still haven’t learned that there are no 14 year old girls on the internet who want to have sex with creepy old guys April 30, 2014

Twelve people, including two from Manatee County, have been charged as part of an online undercover sting targeting people trying to have sex with children, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

In a news release, the sheriff’s office revealed some of what authorities uncovered during what was dubbed Operation Intercept III.

“Suspects ranging in age from 20-50 responded to Internet-based ads, online apps or social media sites and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations,” the release states.

“One of the suspects is an armed security guard who thought he was going to have sex with a mother and her 12-year-old daughter. Some of the men sent explicit photos and one brought drugs. A 44-year-old man agreed to get a 14-year-old girl pregnant. Ultimately they all traveled with the intent to have sex with a male or female child.”

Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight said his department will continue to conduct such undercover operations.

“You would think the frequency of Internet predator operations here in Sarasota County and surrounding jurisdictions would reduce the number of criminals prowling online for the sole purpose of sexually exploiting children,” Knight said in the release. “Most adults probably aren’t aware of the sites kids are using, so law enforcement will continue to stand between children and these disturbed individuals, but parents need to pay attention to what your kids are doing online. Be a parent, it’s OK to check.”


Those arrested and charges are:

– Brian Hawley, 37, Fort Myers; use of a computer to solicit a child to commit sex act, travel to solicit a child to commit sex acts, attempted lewd & lascivious battery, and two counts of transmission of materials harmful to minors.

– Raymond Kidder, 50, Clearwater; use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Blake Holliday, 24, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Daniel Ferris, 24, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Edgar Covarrubias-Garcia, 37, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Michael Parent, 43, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted, and Transmission of Materials Harmful to Minors.

– Harry Walters, 44, Sarasota, Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Daniel Abbey, 30, Ruskin; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted, and Transmission of Materials Harmful to Minors.

– Dwight Meek, 43, Palmetto; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Jameson Fahey, 20, Englewood; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– James Baker, 33, Tampa; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted.

– Edmond Jones, 20, Bradenton; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery – Attempted, Possession of less than 20 Grams of Cannabis and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

“Detectives seized two motorcycles during the operation,” the release states. “In addition, some of the information obtained during this initiative has resulted in additional investigations which are ongoing at this time.”

Agencies assisting in the sheriff’s office in the investigation were the Bradenton and Sarasota police departments, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Vampires, nudists, snakes: Nobody does wacky like Florida April 7, 2014


By: Scott Maxwell

Last week, news broke that a congressional candidate in Gainesville had a secret pastime: impersonating vampires. And superheroes.

Some people would call this nutty.

In Florida, we just call it Tuesday.

Seriously, that’s not even our highest-profile vampire story. Remember the “vampire killings” from Lake County?

Some of our stories are heartbreakingly tragic. But so many are also mind-numbingly strange.

In Florida, we do weird the way Kansas does wheat.

Here, giant pet snakes escape. And breed. And then invade our national parks.

We have fish that eat people, alligators that eat people and people who eat people.

Two years ago, when news of the “cannibal attack” broke, the nation let out a collective gasp … until learning it was Miami. Then it all made sense.

We have killer amoebas, hanging chads and diaper-wearing astronauts. (All of which would make awesome rock-band names, by the way.)

We have a town named Christmas … where it never snows. We have the world’s smallest post office and a couple trying to build America’s largest house.

I used to think Florida attracted wacky people. Now I think it creates them.

Take my grandfather, for example.

Early in his life, he was a NASA engineer in Virginia — and as strait-laced and buttoned-down as they came. His passions were photography and crossword puzzles.

Then he moved to Florida. After Grandma died, we worried that our sober and contemplative grandfather would become listless and uninspired.

He became neither of those things. Instead, he became a nudist. (Lending more credence to the notion that it’s never the people you want to see naked at a nudist resort.)

At first, we were all: What the heck, Granddad?

But you know what? He found new life and inspiration. He’d travel down Interstate4 from Ormond Beach to Cypress Cove, where he’d pay strict adherence to the two main rules: Never take pictures, and always place a towel on the bar stool before you sit down.

Florida liberated him. And he spent the remaining, widowed years of his life happy. So you go, Granddad.

By the way, nudity is another one of our weird themes.

•”Nude man found dead on killer whale’s back”

•”Florida Lotto winner seeks to open a nude dude ranch”

•”Blind woman sues nudist colony over heavy dog”

Florida newspapers carry such headlines the way other papers carry horoscopes.

Some of that is understandable. It’s hot down here.

And I don’t mean happy, sand-at-your-toes, wind-in-your-hair hot. I mean sweaty-thighs-stuck-to-your-car-seats, armpit-stains-like-dinner-plates hot. It’s enough to make anyone nutty. And naked.

But it cuts both ways. When it’s hot, it makes us crazy. When it’s pleasant, we attract other states’ crazies. I mean, if it’s January and you’re already planning to run a scam, con or heist, would you rather do it in Buffalo or Boynton Beach?

This state is also lousy with newspapers and TV stations, meaning we have more ink-stained wretches and blow-dried broadcasters than your average state to tell all the weird stories.

Finally, there’s our melting-pot effect.

You simply can’t throw so many different cultures together and not expect some fireworks.

But you know what? That is also part of what makes this state so splendidly unique.

We have character and texture — a bouillabaisse of native and newcomer, sinner and saint, scholar and simpleton.

It’s a fusion that produces a weeklong bacchanalia in Key West and pioneering medical research at the Burnham Institute.

It’s the reason Orlando can turn out just as many people for a Veterans Day parade as it does for Come Out With Pride.

And it explains how a mild-mannered rocket engineer can feel inspired to start a new life by ditching his pocket protector — along with everything else he’s wearing.

And, yes, it’s also how we end up with some of the wackiest politicians in America — including a vampire-impersonating, superhero-mimicking, punk-rock lawyer running for Congress.

Just what we need … another lawyer in Congress.


If you’re into kiddie porn, it’s probably a good idea not to post it on Instagram November 20, 2013

untitledCollier County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Monday they said posted child pornography to the social networking site Instagram.

According to investigators, 18-year-old Sean Michael Rodriguez uploaded 20 pictures of boys age 6 to 12 engaging in sex acts alone or with each other.

Instagram alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which contacted the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a report, deputies obtained a search warrant for Rodriguez’s home and found 130 images of child porn on electronic devices.

Rodriguez faces 130 counts of possession of child porn. He was being held in the Collier County Jail with bail set at $650,000, according to jail records.

It was unclear whether he had an attorney.


Dance teacher charged with rape July 28, 2013

A former Titusville dance instructor who now runs a studio in Seminole County was arrested in Rockledge Thursday on 25 felony charges of sexual assault on a minor.


Dawhone Perry, 30, owner of the New Dimensions Dance Academy in Oviedo, was released after posting a total of $137,500 in bond.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Perry faces five counts of sexual battery on a 12 to 18 year old, 10 counts of lewd and lascivious sexual activity with a minor, and 10 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Details of the charges were not available from the sheriff’s office Monday. However, according to news reports on WFTV-TV and WESH-TV, Perry is accused of sexually assaulting one of his former students while he was a dance instructor in Brevard County.

Quoting court documents, WESH reported that the incidents began in 2005, when the victim was 15. She estimated to police investigators that they had sex numerous times before she turned 18, according to the WESH report.

Perry previously worked at the New Dimensions Dance Company in Titusville, where he taught modern and contemporary dance. He incorporated New Dimension Dance Company in Oviedo in 2006.

Perry appeared Thursday before Judge David Dugan at the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Justice Center in Viera.


Disney worker watched child porn at work while writing sermon May 16, 2013

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Child Pornography,Florida Nut,Fraud,Pedophile,Scary,WTF? — floridaduh @ 8:13 pm

cuthbert-jpg-20130515A custodial manager at Disney’s Port Orleans resort is accused of watching child porn at work while writing an Easter sermon for a Sanford church where he is the pastor.

Cedric Eugene Cuthbert, 49, pastor of the Historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Sanford, worked for Disney for more than 7 years before his arrest. He has since been fired.

An employee-relations manager at Disney was alerted last month when Cuthbert tried to access several blocked websites from his work computer, the manager told Orange County deputies.

Disney’s monitoring system takes screen shots of employee computers every three seconds and recorded Cuthbert writing an Easter Sunday church sermon on John chapter 13 verses 1-35 and Psalm 148 while loading pornographic YouTube videos involving teenage girls.

That portion of the book of John tells the story of Jesus’ prediction of Judas’ betrayal and Psalm 148 tells all people to praise the Lord above all else.

Cuthbert faces charges of possession of material including sexual conduct by a child and soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices.

According to his arrest affidavit, Cuthbert worked an overnight shift at the Disney resort from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

He logged in with his employee credentials during a time when no other employees would have been at work, deputies said.

After watching one video, Cuthbert sent a message to the person who posted the video to YouTube that said, “You are so cute!… Keep making vids! Send me a private vid longer, I am a big fan of yours!”

When he got another video he said, “NICE FIND! THANKS for Sharing!!!”

Cuthbert is being held in the Orange County Jail without bail.


Man busted after acknowledging he molested child ……. on Facebook April 21, 2013

sfl-flduh-molested-child-on-facebook-20130419-001OCALA – A 36-year-old man arrested Thursday by an Ocala police detective for sexual battery on a child younger than 12 was arrested Friday by a Marion County Sheriff’s Office detective for another sexual offense on a different victim.

Ocala police said the victim in the first case, now a teenager, told an official at the Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection that when she was about 4 or 5 she was molested by Mark L. Franklin. In a Facebook chat with Franklin, she asked him about the incident and he told her he prayed for forgiveness and was no longer a monster and was now a better person, according to reports.

Detective Jorge Fernandez developed probable cause for Franklin’s arrest.

On Thursday, Officer Joe Kelly saw Franklin at a park in northwest Ocala and took him to the police department for questioning. Franklin told Fernandez about the Facebook posting but denied molesting the girl. Franklin was arrested and was taken to the Marion County Jail.

On Friday, MCSO Detective Bobby Levay charged Franklin with two counts of sexual battery stemming from a 2005 case in which Franklin allegedly molested a girl several times from when she was about 2 or 3 until she was in seventh grade. Levay said Franklin was about 14 or 15 at the time of the first reported incidents and that when the victim was in the seventh grade, he was about 26.

Franklin denied the allegations.


Police post ‘sexual predator’ road signs outside homes of convicted rapists and child molesters April 18, 2013

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Controversy,Pedophile,Sexual Assault,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:19 pm



The sheriff of Bradford County, Florida, decided the reflective signs, which have each offender’s name, should be planted on the roadways outside the houses of convicted sexual predators to ward off children. The department already sends out notifications on Facebook and sends officers to warn neighbors door-to-door when a sexual predator moves in.


7 boys say Florida youth football and basketball coach tried to molest them April 2, 2013

Filed under: Child Abuse,Controversy,Dispute,Pedophile,Sad Story,Scary,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 5:25 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – More victims have come forward accusing a longtime youth coach of lewd acts, and now police fear there could be even more alleged victims.

Orlando police said a total of 7 boys have said their coach tried to molest them. Several boys claim the incidents happened inside the Lorna Doone park bathroom, authorities said.


Police arrested Jeffery McWhorter, 54, for lewd acts. The volunteer football and basketball coach with the City of Orlando youth leagues told Local 6 that he didn’t do anything wrong.

“I didn’t do nothing to no kids,” said McWhorter as he was being hauled to jail Friday. “I don’t know what they’re talking about.”

According to the arrest affidavit, the allegations come from three brothers who claimed “Coach Jeff” offered them money to perform a sex act starting at $40. “Coach Jeff continued to offer money and offered up to $100″ when one child refused, the arrest affidavit said.

One of McWhorter’s relatives spoke to Local 6 about the allegations.

“I feel like they’re being coached. He hasn’t touched anyone,” said the relative, who asked to not be identified. “He has been a coach for 32 years. I feel like if he wanted to touch on children, he would have done it because pedophiles don’t wake up one day and decide they want to touch on children, they have a pattern.”

McWhorter admitted to police that he asked a child to escort him to the bathroom where he performed a sex act on himself in front of that child, police said. However, he denies doing anything more.

“I never did nothing that nobody else wouldn’t have did,” said McWhorter on Friday.

McWhorter has no previous criminal record that would indicate he would harm a child. His family thinks the brothers who made the initial allegations have a grudge because they said they were kicked off the team last season.

However, since the three brothers came forward, four other boys have also said they were victimized.

Authorities are asking parents to talk with their children to make sure they weren’t victimized.

A city spokeswoman confirms McWhorter has been suspended from his coaching duties and passed a background check prior to being about to volunteer for the city.


Sex offender lured girl to home, gave her $2, performed lewd act March 28, 2013

kkg9CrkZi6wr8p1SB9_lQDl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJORLANDO,  Fla. —A convicted felon faces charges in Orange County after  investigators said he lured a 13-year-old girl to his home, gave her money and  performed a lewd act in front of her.

Clifford Murray, 39, is  accused of kidnapping and lewd conduct. Authorities said he lured one of two  girls playing near Florida Mall back to his apartment.

The 13-year-old, who was  looking for turtles with her friend, said she went with Murray because he said  he would give her money.

When the girl went to  Murray’s Landstreet Road apartment, investigators say Murray performed a lewd  act in front of her and asked if she would join him. The girl told him, “No  thank you,” and left the apartment, according to investigators.

Murray has two prior child  molestation convictions. He’s now being held without bond at the Orange County  Jail.


Man with gun, duct tape and machete in his truck tries to have sex with child March 23, 2013

Jab5ElKY-j0pUFBf6Hbh_zl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJORLANDO,  Fla. —A 54-year-old Ormond Beach man is accused of trying to meet a minor  for sex.

Investigators said William  Fahner was arrested Thursday at a Wendy’s restaurant in Daytona Beach. They said  he thought he was meeting a child and the child’s father there for sex.

Instead, officers were  waiting for Fahner. They quickly took him into custody and booked him into the  Volusia County Branch Jail.

Investigators said Fahner  believed he was chatting over the Internet to a father willing to offer his  child for sex. He was really corresponding with an undercover officer.

Fahner had a loaded gun in  the console of his truck, along with a machete, duct tape and rope in the back  seat.

Fahner faces charges of  using a computer to solicit a child for sex, traveling to meet a child for sex  and other crimes.



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