Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cops: Man had sex with girl

April 2, 2008


A Tavares man was arrested Monday and charged with having repeated sexual encounters with a 13-year-old girl, police said.

Tavares police responded to the victim's home on March 19 after her parents contacted authorities and said they feared their daughter was being sexually battered by Richard Strickland, 22, according to an incident report. The victim told police that she and Strickland were romantically involved.

The officers told the victim to avoid contact with Strickland.

Officers then interviewed Strickland, who admitted he was friends with the victim but denied that they were sexually involved. Police told him not to contact the victim.

Over the next week, officers responded twice to reports of the victim and Strickland disobeying the instructions not to contact each other.

Tavares Detective Karl Grogan said the victim then was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center, where she said she and Strickland had sexual encounters. Investigators also found text messages on her cell phone from Strickland asking her to lie to police about their relationship.

When Strickland was questioned after his arrest, he admitted to having a sexual relationship with the victim, police said.

He was held at Lake County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

Martin E. Comas, Adrian G. Uribarri and Helen Eckinger of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

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