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Port Charlotte man charged with having sex with minor

Russell Carawan
Russell Carawan(CCSO)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (WWSB) - A Port Charlotte man has been arrested and charged with having sex with a minor and possession of a controlled substance, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Detectives obtained a search warrant Thursday for the home of Russell Carawan in the 800 block of Silver Springs Terrace NW.

The warrant was obtained following a report that Carawan, 56, had engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor.

The victim told deputies he met Carawan through the social media app GRINDR, and that Carawan also offered him narcotics before the sexual activity occurred.

The alleged incidents took place on two separate occasions, the latest being in mid-May. Additionally, Carawan sent multiple naked photographs to the victim, authorities said.

Carawan’s listed occupation on the booking information at the Charlotte County Jail is “therapist.” A search by ABC7 yielded Carawan’s professional LinkedIn page which lists him as a manager at Bayfront Health in Punta Gorda.

ABC7 has confirmed Carawan worked for a “very short time -- a couple of months” at Charlotte Behavioral Health Care in Punta Gorda, but is not currently there, according to a human resources employee who did not want to be identified. The facility specializes in mental health issues and addiction.

Carawan’s professional page also listed employment between 2006-2015 with the Saucon Valley School District in Pennsylvania. A public records search discovered a December 2017 order by Pennsylvania’s Professional Standards And Practices Commission. In the order, Russell Caraway voluntarily surrendered his professional Educational Specialist certificate after “the Department of Education (”Department”) filed a Notice of Charges against Respondent alleging that he engaged in boundary violations with several female students while employed as a counselor with Saucon Valley School District.”

Charlotte County deputies executed the warrant June 3 and observed the suspect’s home was as described by the victim. Detectives also located 2.5 grams of methamphetamines and associated paraphernalia, along with several Xanax and Alprazolam bars (13 in total), in the dresser drawer where the victim advised it would be.

Carawan was cooperative with detectives and was arrested for two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and two counts of possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia.

This was not Carawan’s first brush with the law in Charlotte County. He was arrested in September 2008 and charged with battery.

Carawan is being held at the Charlotte County Jail.

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