WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A judge denied a bond reduction this morning for former WPTV weatherman Rob Lopicola, who is accused of having sex with two underage boys he met through personal ads on Craigslist.
Lopicola's mother spoke on his behalf in court this morning, offering to put up her house as collateral for the 130,000 bond that was set Wednesday, July 11. The judge denied.
Prosecutors initially asked Circuit Judge Stephen Rapp to delay the hearing scheduled for 8:30 a.m, but Rapp denied the request. Assistant State Attorney Michael Kugler, the lead prosecutor in the case, said he would be unable to be at today's hearing because of a scheduling conflict. Lopicola's public defender, Aaron Ritchey, objected to a later hearing date and said Kugler could have another prosecutor fill in.
Lopicola, 42, has been at the Palm Beach County jail since last month, when sheriff's deputies arrested him just north of Fort Lauderdale on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd and lascivious battery, and computer pornography and child exploitation.
According to arrest reports, the 15- and 17-year-old boys both met the one-time WPTV-Channel 5 weatherman through online ads for males seeking males. The teens allege the sexual activity with Lopicola happened between August 2010 and April 2011.
Lopicola, who abruptly resigned from WPTV in 2006 after eight years as their weekend meteorologist, first spoke with police about the case in April 2011, when the mother of the 17-year-old caught Lopicola hiding in her son's shower. Lopicola reportedly told police at that time that he met the Palm Beach Lakes High School student as the boy was walking on Village Boulevard.
He said he befriended the boy "because he was afraid to tell his parent's about his sexuality and Robert experienced a similar situation when growing up."
But the teen said he met Lopicola on Craigslist and began exchanging text messages that led to two sexual encounters before the boy's mother caught Lopicola in the shower.
A 15-year-old former Boca Raton boy reported similar encounters with Lopicola, although he told no one of the contact until he moved to Michigan to live with an uncle.
Daphne Duret, Palm Beach Post, contributed to this report.