In late June, a Florida man was accused of kidnapping a two-year-old child at a sports complex and beaten by the child's father. However, according to the police report filed immediately after the incident, the man was trying to find the lost child's parents at a softball game. The little girl's family publicly shamed the man on Facebook as a kidnapper and predator, even after the police declined to press charges against him.
According to police reports, the incident in question occurred at around 3:30 pm on June 24 at a sports complex in Highland, Florida. A two-year-old child was lost briefly, and people were asking where she had gone and if anyone had seen her. The man involved, described in this case as the victim, spotted the girl wandering by herself and approached her to help her find her parents.
Lakeland Police Sgt. Gary Gross told a local news station that the victim “saw that the child was in danger. She was wandering off and he did the right thing by going to her, getting her attention, trying to find the parents.” Gross continued, “We had an independent eyewitness that saw him walking around, asking, ‘Is this your parents? Is that your father?'”
Then, as the pair walked around the facility, the child became frightened and started trying to pull away. The man, concerned for her safety, picked her up and started carrying her to the playground to find her parents. At that point, three men approached him, took the child, and physically assaulted him by punching him repeatedly in the face.
The victim of the assault suffered several facial lacerations after the incident but declined to press charges against the little girl's family for the violence. He said that he understood how the situation could be construed incorrectly and how the family might have seen him as a threat.
The father of the child became angry when police refused to press charges for kidnapping, but the officers stated that the family could not “provide any evidence that the victim's actions were made, attempting to ‘kidnap' or ‘falsely imprison'” the child. Unfortunately, the family decided that they should take matters into their own hands and punish the man attempting to help their daughter. They “took to Facebook and Twitter to share the man's name and photos, calling him out as a predator.”
Defending Criminal Charges Involving Minors
Crimes against children are taken particularly seriously by both the law and the public, but an accusation does not mean that a defendant is guilty. Each person must be given the chance to make their case and clear their name. They should be assumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If you are struggling with charges levied against you for crimes involving a minor, you have a right to an experienced and thoroughly prepared defense.