State Attorney Office ramp up sex crime prosecutions

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SARASOTA--Too often we hear stories about children becoming victims of molestation and other sex crimes.

"The victims I work with express a lot of frustration and anger because they feel like their perpetrators are not held accountable," said Susan Towsley the director of Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center.  

Towsley adds sex crimes have long been over looked by the justice systems.  "Only 3 percent of all reported sexual assault incidents result in the perpetrator receiving any jail time at all."

But the Twelfth Judicial Circuit the agency prosecuting those crimes here on the Suncoast, say they plan to change that. 

"We have sent some folks to prison for a long time and that's the message we want to send," said State Attorney Ed Brodsky.  Brodsky says his agency's wants sex offenders to know that if you do the crime, they will also do the time.

"In order to protect our children and our community we believe we have to be aggressive in the sentences we seek," added Brodsky.

And when he says aggressive, he means it. Earlier this week 43 year old Thaddeus Brown was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting a young girl.  Back in March, 56 year old priest William Wert was sentenced to life for having sex with a 14 year old Nokomis boy.  And, Brodsky says the long sentence is necessary to a disturbing trend.

"We find that sexual offenders reoffered and that they prey on more than one child and they expose other children to dangers," said Brodsky.

He says his agency is committed to preventing those dangers and the many negative side effect caused my molestation and other sex crime.  A move Towsley says is welcomed.  "Im really hopeful that they are going to start looking into things and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes."

In addition to the lengthy sentences the State Attorney Office says they are working in conjunction with law enforcement to set up internet stings.  Already they have arrested more than 100 people who were trying to meet up with children to commit sex crimes.