Illicit sex at 18 haunts Lake Worth man

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - How long should punishment for illicit sex last?

Damian Garcia of Lake Worth is finding that he may have to pay with his house for something that happened thirteen years ago.

Deputies say he violates a Lake Worth ordinance that says he can't live within 1,500 feet of a school bus stop.

Garcia was eighteen when he admitted to sexual battery of a girl who was fifteen.

Court documents say the sex was consensual, and that it happened once.

"I pleaded guilty of my crime from the beginning, from arraignment. Because I am guilty of my crime," said Garcia.

Thirteen years later, he has a wife, a toddler, a house.

But last week, he got a letter from PBSO saying he needs to move out or be arrested.

"The law makes it out to be like I'm waiting behind a bus stop or waiting behind a tree waiting to pounce on somebody's child," said Garcia. "And I'm not."

His fight has turned to getting off the registry, which he could be on until 2027. 

His wife, Angelica Garcia, has been with him for eight years.

"He's not a predator. He was just young, doing stupid things," said Garcia.

One time prosecutor Ron Herman now specializes in defending sex cases.

He says the problem in state law isn't how it handles violent predators, but how it handles so called Romeo and Juliet cases.

"There should be different levels, where in this scenerio, this person should have to comply with a certain distance, but in a different scenerio, it's this distance. That's not in effect," said Herman.

Garcia says he's already paid by having a nearly impossible time finding work.

Now just living in the same house as his son is a challenge.

"This is where we wanted to start our future. And because of a mistake I made thirteen years ago, I'm not entitled to have that same dream."

Garcia says he is hiring an attorney and there is a statewide advocacy group that tries to help low-risk sex offenders who is also working with him.

 

 

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