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Polk Sheriff Subjects Teen Girls to Rape Exam–After Dates

| April 13, 2010

In Polk, tools before dignity.

By Billy Townsend

The story of the two 18 year-old Lakeland High School baseball players and their underaged dates is more complex, and ultimately more horrifying to me, than the first story in the Lakeland Ledger makes it seem. The follow-up story is more thorough, but it still misses a very important issue that parents and kids need to know.

Much remains unclear to me after reading the actual report, speaking to Polk Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilder, and reading this morning’s Ledger story.

But here’s the bottom line: What started with two pairs of teenagers being naughty – doing more than just “making out” and yet not having sexual intercourse – ended with two high school seniors in jail facing years in prison. And their “victims” – who insisted on the consensual nature of the naughtiness – provided “a sexual assault kit” and the clothing off their backs to an RN and a doctor at Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) at 2:30 or so in the morning. This is in black and white in the police report. Just so you know what’s involved in a sexual assault kit, check out this wikipedia entry:

Here’s a partial list of the stuff found inside:

# Tube for blood sample
# Urine sample container
# Paper bags for clothing collection
# Large sheet of paper for patient to undress over
# Cotton swabs for biological evidence collection
# Sterile water
# Sterile saline
# Glass slides
# Unwaxed dental floss
# Wooden stick for fingernail scrapings
# Envelopes or boxes for individual evidence samples
# Labels

Stuff that might be required for a sexual assault exam includes:

# Toluidine blue dye
# Drying rack for wet swabs and/or clothing
# Patient gown, cover sheet, blanket, pillow
# Needles/syringes for blood drawing
# Speculums

This is how we protect children from consensual fondling with their dates in this county.

It’s not clear from the report what was done to the girls at LRMC — what the “sexual assault kit” entailed at that specific moment. But Wilder told me the deputy contacted the girls’ parents after the deputy discovered them and that the parents gave permission for the sheriff’s office to “fully comply” with what the law requires to arrest and prosecute someone on lewd battery charges. That, according to Wilder, includes the sexual assault exam.

This jibes with Grady Judd’s quotes from The Ledger:

“We didn’t choose the conduct. We didn’t write the laws,” Judd said. “The (girls’) parents were very adamant and wanted prosecution.”


Judd said the father of the 14-year-old girl was distraught during the investigation at what had happened with his daughter.

“He was livid,” Judd said of the father. “We had to calm him down.”

I asked Wilder if the girls were required to take the exam if they didn’t want to, even if their parents gave consent. He said no. I then asked Wilder if the girls consented to the exam, and he said they did. I then finally asked him if anyone, with the sheriff’s office, the hospital, or their parents, ever told the girls they didn’t have to take the exam. He said he did not know.

If you are a medical professional who was present during this, and your conscience is bothering you, email me at I want to talk.

Now let’s back up for a second. I was unfair to the investigating deputy in my previous post. When he discovered the teens, about 11:30 p.m., they were in various stages of near nudity. The report has conflicting accounts of how nude. Really, it does. But given those circumstances, late at night, the deputy probably couldn’t have just said, “get dressed and get on your way.” If he had, and something bad had happened to the girls, jerks like me would have crawled all over him. It was wrong for me to criticize him for his actions at the scene. I apologize for that.

But what’s clear from his report is that all four kids quickly fessed up to their naughtiness: basically mutual masturbation. That’s the battery. Penetration with a single finger – in both cases. (Sorry for the graphic stuff, but we’re all adults here at Lakeland Local and FlaglerLive.) At absolutely no point was coercion alleged; and the deputy never expressed any suspicion that the girls or boys were lying. He also never expressed suspicion that the kids actually had traditional intercourse — or even planned to.

In other words, what were the RN, the doctor, and cops looking for from the sexual assault kit samples? Fingerprints? What was the evidentiary value? Why does the law require a kit for lewd battery? In the absence of good answers to those questions, it’s hard to see the exam and the time at the hospital as anything but punitive. After all, the cops have confessions.

I hope this wasn’t a rape exam as a punishment for fondling. It’s bad enough that the boys face felonies. But this is how we protect their “victims”? By violating them in the cold, sterile conditions of a hospital, surrounded by solemn adults and knowing they may send their boyfriends/dates to prison and otherwise ruin their lives.

You tell me what’s closer to rape. We have lost our freaking minds in this country. Parents and cops alike.

Sheriff Judd told The Ledger, “As a daddy, if my 14-year-old girl was engaging in that conduct, the safest place (the boy) can be is in the county jail.”

Is the safest place for your daughter some room at LRMC draped in a sheet in the middle of the night?

Understand, parents, what this case shows. If you let your 15-year-old daughter go out with her 18-year-old boyfriend – and he touches her girlyparts, and the sheriff’s office finds out, they may very well call you asking to take a sample. I know what my answer would be. Maybe I’m just less morally sound than some of our commenters or the girls’ parents, but the very idea that this question gets asked horrifies me.

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1 Response for “Polk Sheriff Subjects Teen Girls to Rape Exam–After Dates”

  1. Tara says:

    Back up further, why were the parents allowing 14 yr old girls to go out and stay out all night with a 18 yr old boys? My 14 yr old is not going any where with a 18 yr old boy especially by herself.

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