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Child Molestation

Many people are shocked to learn that one charge for lewd or lascivious molestation, can be alleged in several different alternative ways often. The prosecutor will charge the offense that way because the prosecutor is unsure of the exact allegation. For example, a crime for “lewd or lascivious molestation” could be charged as:

  • having occurred over a period of several months or years;
  • on one or more occasions;
  • by intentionally touching in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, buttocks, or the clothing covering them; or
  • by enticing the child to so touch the defendant.

Recent Case Result

On December 5, 2018, the jury returned a “not guilty” in a case pending before the Honorable Susan L. Barthle in Dade City, FL. Our client was charged with the crime of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, a first degree felony punishable by life in prison (with a 25 year minimum mandatory prison sentence). Instead of facing those penalties, our client was exonerated and walked out of the courthouse with us after the jury returned the “not guilty” verdict. Leslie M. Sammis and Amanda F. Brunson were the lead attorneys in the case.

Disclaimer: The facts of your case may differ from the facts discussed here. Not all case results are listed here. The case results discussed here are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases. Each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.

Defending yourself against such vague charges is extremely difficult and requires experienced representation at every stage of the case beginning with the moment you learn such an allegation is being made. Child molestation is one of the most serious criminal charges under Florida law. 


Attorney for Child Molestation Crimes in Tampa, FL

If you were accused of the very serious criminal offense of lewd and lascivious child molestation or sexual battery, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our main office is conveniently located in downtown Tampa, FL. Our second office is located in New Port Richey, FL.

The criminal justice attorneys at Sammis Law firm know how to fight allegations involving the child abuse accommodation syndrome and questionable techniques used during interviews with children involving dolls and art therapy. We are also experienced in representing children in juvenile court charged with committing this type of crime against a younger child.

Many parents are surprised to learn that offenses for “lewd and lascivious molestation” can involve one child touching a younger child. Even middle school and high school students can be charged with this crime in juvenile court.

For both adults and juveniles, our attorneys represent clients charged with serious crimes child abuse in Tampa, FL. Find out more about defenses that apply in these cases and ways to fight false allegations.

Call (813) 250-0500.


Types of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation Crimes

Florida law provides for several different types of lewd and lascivious molestation crimes including:

  • Level 6 – Section 800.04(5)(d) – 3rd degree felony – Lewd or lascivious molestation; victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years; offender less than 18 years;
  • Level 7 – Section 800.04(5)(c)1. – 2nd degree felony – Lewd or lascivious molestation; victim less than 12 years of age; offender less than 18 years;
  • Level 7 – Section 800.04(5)(c)2. – 2nd degree felony – Lewd or lascivious molestation; victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years; offender 18 years or older; or
  • Level 9 – Section 800.04(5)(b) – 1st degree felony – Lewd or lascivious molestation; victim less than 12 years; offender 18 years or older.

Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation in Florida

Florida Statute Section Section 800.04(5), lewd or lascivious molestation, occurs when a person “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….” § 800.04(5)(a), Fla. Stat.

Section 800.04(5)(b) states, “[a]n 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, punishable as provided in s. 775.082(3)(a)4.”

Through the enactment of the Jessica Lunsford Act in 2005, the Florida Legislature made the following changes to the 2004 versions of sections 800.04(5)(b) and 775.082(3):

  1. a violation of section 800.04(5)(b) became a life felony; and
  2. a violation of section 775.082(3) carried a twenty-five year mandatory minimum sentence.

For a person convicted of this offense, the sentencing court is authorized to impose either a life sentence or a split sentence incorporating a term of 25 years of imprisonment. See § 775.082(3)(a)4.a., Fla. Stat.

Florida Statute Section 775.082(3)(a)4. provides:

(3) A person who has been convicted of any other designated felony may be punished as follows:

(a)4. For a life felony committed on or after September 1, 2005, which is a violation of s. 800.04(5)(b), by:

a. A term of imprisonment for life; or

b. A split sentence that is a term of not less than 25 years’ imprisonment and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation or community control for the remainder of the person’s natural life, as provided in s. 948.012(4). § 775.082(3)(a) 4., Fla. Stat. (emphasis added).


The Difference Between Molestation and Sexual Battery

The conduct constituting capital sexual battery will, as a practical matter ordinarily—if not always, also constitute lewd or lascivious molestation. Nevertheless, the formal elements of these two crimes are quite distinct.

Sexual battery is defined as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.” § 794.011(h), Fla. Stat.

Establishing capital sexual battery—like any other sexual battery—requires proof of either penetration or oral, anal, or vaginal union with the sexual organ of another, while establishing lewd or lascivious molestation requires proof of intentional touching of the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering those areas.

Lewd or lascivious molestation requires proof that the touching was done with a lewd or lascivious intent, while sexual battery may be committed without any proof of a specific sensual intent.


Additional Resources

Child Molestation Statute in Florida 800.04 – Visit the website of the Florida Senate to find more about Florida Statute Section 800.04(5) to learn more about lewd and lascivious molestation. The statute prohibits any defense based on the victim’s the victim’s consent nor lack of chastity is a defense to the crimes proscribed by this section. Likewise, the perpetrator’s bona fide belief of the victim’s age, the victim’s misrepresentation of his or her age, or the perpetrator’s ignorance of the victim’s age cannot be raised as a defense in a prosecution for lewd and lascivious child molestation.


Lawyers for Molestation Crimes in Hillsborough County, FL

If you were accused of “Lewd and Lascivious Molestation” in Tampa, FL, or the surrounding areas of Hillsborough County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

With offices located in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL, we represent clients charged with sexually motivated crimes including sexual battery and lewd and lascivious conduct throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.

We fight crimes involving an inappropriate touching in the courtrooms in Tampa in Hillsborough County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Brooksville in Hernando County, Clearwater in Pinellas County, Bradenton in Manatee County or Bartow in Polk County, FL.

When you call, you can schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


This article was last updated on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.

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