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Palm Coast Man, 23, Faces Molestation Charge After He’s Found With Girl, 15, at Flagler Beach Park

| December 12, 2018

tyler joyce

Tyler Joyce.

Flagler Beach police officer Gaetano Cozzone was on a routine patrol Monday (Dec. 10) when, shortly after 1 p.m., he conducted a security check at Betty Steflik Park.

He noticed a silver Mercury Grand Marquis parked at the southeast corner of the park. He approached. He then noticed a man in the front passenger seat, but facing the rear of the Mercury. He “appeared to be thrusting the midsection of his body back and forth,” Cozzone’s report would later detail. The man in the car was also fondling a girl or a woman was straddling him. “The p[air appeared to be intimate with each other, however both subjects appeared to have their clothes on,” the cop reported.

He called in the car’s plate and made contact with the car’s occupants.

“We were just making out,” the man, who soon identified himself as 23-year-old Tyler Joyce, told the cop. He also apologized. Cozzone asked Joyce’s partner if she was OK, and how old she was. She said she was 18, but she had no ID and was hesitant to give Cozzone her birth date. He cautioned her that it was a crime “to lie about identifying herself,” though it’s not a crime not to provide identification to law enforcement absent probable cause for a crime.

But soon the matter of probable cause was put to rest: the girl teared up and admitted that she was born in 2003: she was 15, and possibly the victim of a crime, though at that point the officer detained her “because she lied to me about her name and birth date.” He asked her for a parent’s phone number. The girl provided one only when the officer threatened to call the Department of Children and Families to “retrieve” her. The girl’s mother told the officer that her daughter was supposed to be home, and that if her brother knew she was in Joyce’s company in those circumstances, he would “beat his ass.” She said she wanted to pursue charges, and that she’d pick up her daughter at the police station.

“Due to the fact that at this point [the girl] was a victim,” the cop’s report continues, “she was undetained; however, remained in protective custody.”

Joyce was detained in turn, and both he and the girl were taken to the police station for further questioning. Joyce waived his Miranda rights and said he’d met the girl two weeks earlier while staying at her brother’s house for the night. He claimed the girl made advances that night and told him she was 17, but the next day conceded she was 16. In the car, however, Joyce said no sex had taken place, only contact that “may have appeared sexual.”

The officer asked him about his clothes. He wore sweat pants without underwear, a t-shirt and flip-flops on a 49-degree night. His clothes, the officer reported, “were not consistent with the weather,” and noted: “I asked him if he usually rolls out of bed and wear loose clothes to go meet a friend. He became somewhat defensive.” When the officer asked him why he’d go out to meet a 15 year old, Joyce asked for a lawyer. He was placed under arrest.

The girl was interviewed by a different officer and a victim’s advocate. She told them she’d never been intimate with Joyce in the short time she’d known him, and that the two had agreed to go to the park “to take pictures.” Once there though, “she began to get anxiety,” according to her account. They didn’t get out of the car to take pictures, but talked instead, then made out.

Joyce, of Fariston Place in Palm Coast, faces a second-degree charge of lewd and lascivious molestation, a second-degree felony when the alleged perpetrator is 18 or older and the alleged victim younger than 16. He posted bail on $20,000 and was released less than 24 hours after his arrest, under condition of a no-contact order regarding the girl.

Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly placed the officer’s security check between 3 and 4 a.m. The check was conducted shortly after 1 p.m.

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13 Responses for “Palm Coast Man, 23, Faces Molestation Charge After He’s Found With Girl, 15, at Flagler Beach Park”

  1. South Florida says:

    This is ridiculous ruining another young man. I’m quite sure this was consensual. I was once 15 and I had several older guys . Not one has a ruined reputation.
    At 15 in my opinion, you have a mind.

  2. Concerned Citizen says:

    I’ve said it before and will say it again. Guys stop messing around with the younger girls. “15 will get you 20” and rightfully so.

    At 23 you know right from wrong. And at 15 you know right from wrong. While I mostly fault the guy she had no business being out at 3am in a parked car.

    Hopefully mom steps up and takes corrective action.

  3. Um. NO. says:

    Thats abhorrent and you should be ashamed of yourself for advocating such things. You were a victim of outrageous sex crimes but because your 15 year old hormonal brain says its okay its all good? Absolutely disgusting. We have consent laws for a reason. Short of you drugging them those adults TOOK ADVANTAGE OF YOU.

  4. ASF says:

    Sounds to me that a further evaluation of this young woman and her home environment are in order.

  5. Stop Victim Blaming says:

    Good for you South Florida but IT IS THE LAW and when you break the law, you face the consequences. The ADULT in the situation is the one with 100% of the responsibility.

  6. Just living the dream says:

    Get the duck outta here with that nonsense. Why would you want to sleep with a 15 year old? I don’t think you would be saying this if it was your daughter. This is a think before you speak moment and you failed. It’s alright you can have an opinion but really think before you speak gotta have some kinda sense in there not everyone in this town is thick. If he didn’t want his life ruined he should be messing with older girls not girls that could be your sisters age. Common sense is all we ask for in society.

  7. Brad says:

    It sounds like she lied about her age as well, so why was he arrested. This will be dropped.

  8. Deb says:


  9. Florida voter says:

    With this county’s judges, he’ll probably plea-deal to something where he only gets probation and not even on the sex offender registry.

  10. Vinny says:

    My motto: 18 to 80….Blind crippled or crazy

  11. FlaglerBear says:

    If you think this is ok, then you are definitely what is wrong with this country. Fifteen year old girls belong at home, safe and sound at 3 am. Not in the back seat of a car with “Mr. smiling idiot.” And what is it with that stupid grin on the mugshot? I don’t get what’s so funny. I guarantee he won’t be smiling in court when he gets his “moment of clarity” and realizes what he’s facing.

  12. GIO says:

    How can you even tell the difference between , say, a 15 year old “underage little kid” and an 18 year old “legal grown woman” anyway ?

    Physically,mentally, and fashionably they’re usually identical generally speaking. Think about it the next time you’re at the Walmart trying to differentiate legal vs jail bait !

  13. Flagler County Citizen says:

    The reality is that a 15 year old cannot give consent and lives a very different set of circumstances than a 23 year old. I get it. He’s young and now his life could be ruined, but he has a driver’s licence, should be working a job and should be independent financially and he’s also legally responsible for himself. She’s not. Just because she consents doesn’t mean it is a fair situation. She’s not lived in her life enough to give consent to such a thing with someone who has. He should be responsible enough to know that a minor is off limits, no matter how much she advances toward him. A person who just got out of middle school two years ago isn’t in the same realm of someone old enough to have graduated college–someone old enough to be living on his own, paying his own bills, etc.

    It shouldn’t be difficult to avoid getting tangled up with school aged people. Just don’t do it.

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