The Bizarre World of Florida

Jury Rejects Man’s Claim He Was Sleeping When He Molested Girl August 28, 2014

Caleb-RuhCaleb Ruh, a 29-year-old Flagler County man accused two years ago of molesting a 7-year-old girl in his care, was found guilty of lewd and lascivious molestation in a jury trial that ended late this afternoon.

Ruh faces life in prison and will be designated a sexual predator. He will be sentenced on Sept. 29 by Flagler County Circuit Judge J. David Walsh.

Ruh was represented by public defender Regina Nunnally, who argued at trial that Ruh suffered from “sexsomnia” and committed the acts while asleep.

Susan Davis writing for WebMD summarizes the disorder this way: “Also called ‘sleep sex,’ sexsomnia is a type of parasomnia, where the brain is caught in transition between sleeping and waking states. As with other parasomnias — including sleepwalking, sleep talking, and, yes, sleep driving — someone who is sleep sexing can seem fully awake and aware, even as he or she is masturbating, or fondling, initiating intercourse with, or even sexually assaulting a bed partner. But he or she truly is asleep. In fact, a diagnosis of sexsomnia has been used as a defense in several rape and molestation cases in recent years.”

In Ruh’s case, a jury of five men and one women didn’t buy it. The jury issued the verdict before Walsh after deliberating 90 minutes.

Ruh, who lives in a part of southern Flagler County that has Ormond Beach addresses, was arrested on Aug. 31, 2012, following a Department of Children and Families investigation earlier into an incident that took place July 1.

Ruh, according to his arrest report at the time, had been left in charge of the 7 year old girl while her mother and a 1-year-old child went to the store. The girl told her mother that Ruh had fallen asleep on the couch, then at one point had called out the girl’s name, grabbed the girl, and tried to kiss and touch her. The girl tried to awaken Ruh, who would later say that he’d taken Xanax before falling asleep. Xanax is an anti-anxiety prescription.

The girl later confronted Ruh about it. He refused to talk about it and claimed that the incident couldn’t have happened. The girl would later tell her mother that on another occasion, Ruh had blindfolded her and put things in her mouth, with the object of the “game” being that she had to guess what it was. The child’s mother took both her children to Broward County, where, the report states, a Child Protective Team concluded that there had been “two acts of sexual violence.”

Ruh continued to insist that he did not remember what had taken place on July 1, as he did at trial.

He was initially booked on $200,000 bail. He did not have a good record while in jail, and faced additional charges, such as obstructing police and violating jail rules two or more times, a case still pending in county court, and a battery charge, what would have been a third-degree felony, though the charge was dismissed.


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.



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