Former South Florida TV weatherman Rob Lopicola found guilty, faces 20 years in prison

Legal analysts say he'll register as sex offender

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - He was a TV personality many trusted, preparing them for the weather before they ran out the door.

But it was not long after Rob Lopicola left WPTV NewsChannel 5 that he fell and fell hard.

Contact 5 Investigators tracked him to a West Palm Beach timeshare marketing company which was eventually investigated for scamming customers.

He was never charged in that case.

In July 2012, he faced more serious problems. The once beloved forecaster was facing child sex charges.

"These accusations, it's not true," Lopicola told reporters as he ducked inside a squad car wearing handcuffs.

Lopicola was found guilty of lewd and lascivious conduct and computer pornography on Thursday.

"He can never live the life he lived before," said Michelle Suskauer, a defense attorney and legal analyst.

Suskauer anticipates Lopicola will spend years in prison.

"He is going to be a convicted felon and a registered sex offender and that is a life-long sentence," said Suskauer.
   
Mental health therapist Sandy Munoz, of the Children's Healing Institute, said this is a teachable moment.
   
"It kind of makes you wonder you know, 'who are these people?' You really don't know somebody," said Munoz.

She said Lopicola was someone people looked up to. Munoz said it is a good time to have the conversation with kids that a person cannot judge a book by its cover.

"They're primed you know? They develop a relationship with them, they earn their trust. Parents just really have to be vigilant and I think this case really shows us that," said Munoz.

Lopicola is set to be sentenced on December 6.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

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