You may recall Charlie Day’s character in Horrible Bosses, a man who was required to register as a sex offender for urinating (and thus indecently exposing his genitals) in a playground in the middle of the night despite the fact that no children were present.
This week, a Greenacres couple is feeling a similar wrath of the law; despite the fact that their sexual activity didn’t actually involve any children, they’ve been arrested for and charged with lewd or lascivious behavior for having sex near a playground, in a manner visible to a number of children.
Our West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens sex crimes defense lawyers know that you need to be careful about where and when you choose to engage in sexual activity, because making the wrong call about when to engage in such conduct can turn a personal, intimate event into a public, illegal, and reputation-damaging incident.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Greenacres police received a call about a man and a woman having sex near a playground around 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20th, while it was still light out. Acting on the tip, a law enforcement officer walked up and saw a man kneeling inside of a truck on the seat. Then, as our West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens sex crimes defense lawyers understand, the officer noticed a pair of feet dangling out the driver’s side door. Based on what he saw in the car, the law enforcement officer remarked that it was clear the two (a 38-year-old male and a 26-year-old female) were having sex.
While at the playground, police officers interviewed four children ranging in age from 8 years old to 10 years old. According to the Palm Beach Post, reports indicate that the children told officers they saw the man and woman with their pants down next to a tree. Based on statements made by the children and observations made by police officers on the scene, law enforcement officers determined that the two began what the Sun Sentinel refers to as their “sexual rendezvous” in plain sight by a tree before moving to their truck, which was parked nearby and which was also visible from the playground. In other words, both at the tree and in their truck, the two could be seen by minor children playing in the playground.
Our sex crimes defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that, as a result of their conduct and the remarks made by children in the playground at the time, the two Greenacres individuals have been charged with lewd or lascivious behavior. After their arrests on Friday, the woman was released on $4,000 bond on Saturday and the man was released on $12,000 bond on Sunday.
Now, depending on how the prosecution in this case decides to interpret state law and apply it to the facts of this case, the defendants could face a number of different penalties. For instance, as our sex crimes defense lawyers outline on our website, s. 800.02 of the Florida State Statutes holds that anyone who commits any unnatural and lascivious act with another commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to $500 in fines and/or 60 days in jail.
On the other hand, more seriously, and as will probably be applicable in this case given the presence of children who witnessed the sexual acts of the defendants, s. 800.04 of the Florida State Statutes stipulates that anyone who, among other things, intentionally masturbates, exposes the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner, and/or commits any other sexual act that does not involve actual physical or sexual contact with the victim (the children in this case), in the presence of a victim who is less than 16 years of age (as were the children in the playground), has committed lewd or lascivious exhibition. And, as the statute states, an offender 18 years or older who commits lewd or lascivious exhibition commits a felony of the second degree, punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or 15 years in prison.
What might have started out as a quaint afternoon at the playground transformed into an illegal sex act, making both individuals involved potential convicts facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines and more than a decade in prison. It’s critically important to remember that your actions have consequences. Also important to remember is that when you’re arrested for or charged with a sex crime, you have options. So if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact our sex crime defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you!