sexual assault

A woman wearing a protective mask watches television in her home.
Alvaro Barrientos / Associated Press

As people self-isolate and self-quarantine to help stop the spread of coronavirus, abusers frequently have greater access to their victims. Meanwhile, victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse have less acess to help.

Should Florida Lengthen Time For Prosecuting Sexual Assaults?

Dec 17, 2018
exam room
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Local advocacy groups for survivors of sexual assault are throwing their support behind two proposed bills aimed at helping in the pursuit of justice.

Each bill calls for lawmakers to change the statute of limitations currently in place, which would allow more time for prosecutors to pursue these cases.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Jacksonville sexual assault victims can soon go to a new location for forensic exams and other resources. It’s called the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam —  or “SAFE” center and Monday was its ribbon cutting.

Friday on First Coast Connect we held our weekly Media Roundtable with Florida Times-Union reporter Dan Scanlan, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT business analyst John Burr (01:07).

We heard about this weekend’s Art and Antique Show with Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital board member Robin Albaneze and Saturday’s Jax Truckies Food Truck Championship with Chriss Brown of 927 Events and owner of food truck Mr. Potato Spread Laquitta Spann (33:09).         

We had a preview Saturday Night’s Song Book Showcase with co-founder Pamela Bryant and performer Cheech Forain (46:00).   

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard about a new location to assist survivors of sexual assault in Jacksonville with Executive Director Teresa Miles of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville and Marcus Pollard, who is Director of Player Development and Youth Football with the Jacksonville Jaguars (01:11).

Blogger Stacey Goldring from our our monthly First Coast Connect Book Club gave us the story behind “Killers of the Flower Moon”  (33:10).   

Friday is White Cane Safety Day. We spoke with Jacksonville resident Doug Hansard on what it’s like to be a blind pedestrian in Jacksonville (43:56).


Nissan Rogue
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

Jacksonville police are looking for a man they say attempted to sexually assault and rob a woman outside her Avondale home Monday around 7:15 a.m. near the intersection of Hershel Street and Marquette Avenue.

Sexual Assault

Jacksonville leaders say they’re determined to do whatever is necessary to help victims of sexual assault.

That was the message this week as Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Angela Corey all spoke out about efforts to reduce a large backlog both here in our area and around the state of untested sexual assault kits.

A multi-million dollar grant has been awarded to the prosecutor’s office to work on this. And a multi-disciplinary team, the only one of its kind in Florida, is operating in this area.

Florida State University

As FSU investigates its quarterback and Gainesville police look into incidents on the UF campus, the issue of sexual assault at universities is front and center.

Clay County Sheriff's Office

A Clay County Detective has been suspended for 10 days without pay for conducting an investigation that resulted in the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of a 17-year-old on a rape charge.

Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Departmen

A major effort is launching this week in Jacksonville as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month using the power of the arts to raise awareness about what’s often called modern-day slavery.

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — A Florida Senate panel on Monday unanimously passed three bills dealing with sexually violent predators and sexual crimes against children — the first in a series of measures expected to unfold across four committees and both legislative chambers this week.

Editor's Note: This is a community contributor post.  The views expressed here are those of the author and not WLRN or WLRN-Miami Herald News.  

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Lawmakers hear from public on sex offender law reforms: State lawmakers heard from members of the public, including the mother of child murder and sexual assault victim Cherish Perrywinkle, at a hearing in Jacksonville on reforming state laws on sex offenders.

Karen Feagins / WJCT

At a hearing Wednesday afternoon at Jacksonville City Hall, state legislators, law enforcement officials and mental health professionals discussed what new legislation might protect children from sexual offenders and predators. 

Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, called the hearing following the June abduction and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.

The man accused of Perrywinkle's murder is a repeat sex offender who had been released from jail only about a month before her death.

A legislative hearing is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at Jacksonville City Hall on state laws related to sex offenders. The hearing is open to the public and experts, including officials representing state law enforcement and child services agencies, will be in attendance.

The meeting comes only a few months after the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle in Jacksonville. 

Prosecutors say Donald James Smith, a 56-year-old sex offender who had been released from jail only about a month before he allegedly killed Perrywinkle, has a long history of preying on young girls.  

Smith pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and murder. In July, State Attorney Angela Corey said she would seek the death penalty in the case.

Tomorrow's hearing is sponsored by Florida State Representative Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, and it comes as an online petition to enact "Cherish's Law" has garnered over 2,200 signatures.

The petition was created by a group called "Justice For Cherish" formed, according to their Facebook page, in August.

While the group's Facebook page and petition site offer few details on what changes they would propose, they do appear to advocate longer prison sentences for repeat sexual offenders.

"How many more children do we have to lose before you keep the repeat offenders locked up for the rest of their lives?" the petition asks. "The only reform for a repeat predator is life."

What new laws or changes to existing laws would you propose to prevent sexual assault? Tell us on our Facebook page or on Twitter @WJCTJax.

With $50 and a plane ticket to Haiti, one can buy a slave. This was just one of the difficult lessons writer Benjamin Skinner learned while researching his book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery.

Skinner met with slaves and traffickers in 12 different countries, filling in the substance around a startling fact: there are more slaves on the planet today than at any time in human history. Skinner speaks with Anthony Brooks about his experience researching slavery.