Three years ago Bryan Lemus, 20 at the time, got a lenient deal from the State Attorney’s Office after facing two molestation charges–his victims were children–that could have sent him to prison for 30 years: the two charges were dropped and replaced with a single third-degree felony child abuse charge, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Lemus was spared prison altogether. He was sentenced to five years on probation–sex-offender probation, which is stricter. But he’s twice violated those terms–in September 2020, and again a few weeks ago. His latest violation involve his use of Instagram to view naked pictures a woman sent him of herself, and to access the internet. Lemus admitted to violating his probation in a group counseling session.
His previous violation had been identical. He’d spent 15 days in jail for that, but otherwise returned to his usual probation terms.
This time, Circuit Judge Terence Perkins sentenced him to 90 days in jail followed by nine months on house arrest. It could have been worse.
“Right now, today, you score prison,” Perkins told Lemus who is now 23. “This is a negotiated resolution of the case. It was negotiated by your lawyer and the state, and they’ve agreed to this. But for that, one side or the other would be arguing–maybe both–that this is a prison case and you’d be going to prison. I am willing to accept their stipulation and negotiated resolution of the case. The reason I’m telling you that now is that if there is a violation moving forward, and it could be a technical violation, you would face more prison than you [do] right now. More prison. And the state has already placed on the record that they would not be recommending probation.”
Each probation violation is a felony. If he commits another, he would face at least 20 months in prison for that, plus whatever additional penalty the court may impose.
“And just to be clear, when he was initially sentenced, there were a number of other terms and conditions those all still apply. This is reinstatement with all those terms and conditions,” Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark said.
Lemus, a resident of Palm Coast’s R Section, was arrested in 2018 following an investigation that revealed that he had been molesting his best friend’s younger sister for years, when she was 7 or 8, ending when she was around 12. The girl had been scared to say anything about it because her family and Lemus’s were close. Lemus’s friend, the girl’s brother, was also arrested for similar offenses and sentenced similarly (and violated his probation once by leaving the scene of an accident).
The probation terms include a mandatory curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 p.m. (when he is not under house arrest) and a prohibition on living within 1,000 feet of a school, a day care center, a park or any other place where children customarily gather. He is prohibited from having contact with minors, and prohibited from accessing the internet or participating in social media of any kind. Numerous restrictions on employment apply.
He has no prohibition on having a phone–just not a phone with internet access. He is receiving sex-offender treatment.
Why are we giving so many breaks to a dirtbag sex offender what is wrong with these judges he should be in prison doing 30 years
brian hansen says
Totally agree this judge needs prison time
Lock him up before he rapes another child ! Those assisting his child hunting ways are particularly guilty if more children are injured.
Concerned Citizen says
Our judicial system is a joke in this area.
Please remember your displeasure next time Judges are up for election. They can and need to be replaced.
Flagler County really has their residents fooled. Palm Coast is a retirement community for the most part but if you listen to Rick Staley and his top notch crew it’s a hot bed of drug and gun activity. Staley accused two teens of gun running and called in the ATF. It ended up being teens selling a family members handgun. The ATF was not happy about that call at all. If you want to see real crime go to Volusia County or Dade County or even Jacksonville and you’ll see the true meaning of crime.
Did you read the article? “This is a negotiated resolution of the case. It was negotiated by your lawyer and the state, and they’ve agreed to this.” The State Attorney’s Office negotiated the plea with defense counsel.
Focus your anger there.
Ray W. says
Thank you, Blackstone.
Our judges, including Judge Perkins, often are erroneously targeted for ire when the plea issue that was presented to the judge was negotiated by the attorneys before the judge even opened the file to look at the documents in order to accept the plea.
FlagerLive readers ought to consider the possibility that there might have been problems with this case from the start that the parties chose to keep off the record.
For example, decades ago I handled a serious L & L case that involved a long-term relationship between an older teenage male and a young woman who was under 16 years-of-age throughout the relationship. She had been placed in a long-term inpatient treatment facility to deal with psychological issues arising shortly after the relationship ended. I spoke with the VCSO deputy who investigated the case after he had discussed the young woman’s future treatment plan with the treatment team leader. I learned that the team leader considered it critical that the young woman complete the 11-month treatment regimen.
I then spoke with the team leader, who advised that removing her from the treatment program early could cause significant long-term consequences for her growth into adulthood. I spoke with the young woman’s mother; she agreed with the team leader. To the mother, treatment took precedence over prosecution of the case.
I had a dilemma. Either remove her from the program and make her available for deposition and potential appearances in court during trial, at the risk of long-term harm, or resolve the case. I spoke with my boss, the elected state attorney. He ordered me to resolve the case. At the bench, I informed the judge of the reasons for the plea offer, but the discussion was off the record.
That defendant received an eight-year prison sentence followed by a 17-year term of probation.
Years later, the young woman’s mother told me that her daughter, after successfully completing the treatment program, met and married a young man; she was raising a family with her husband, who had decided on a career in the military. The mother was happy and proud for her daughter’s new outlook on life.
FlaglerLive readers might want to consider the possibility that they just don’t know what they are talking about before they erroneously post comments filled with venom directed toward judges who don’t deserve the venom. This circuit has an excellent batch of judges, with only a few vengeful judges sitting on the bench.
I don’t understand why our justice system is so lenient with sex offenders. The damage they inflict on children is life altering. Children have a special light in their eyes which is put out after being molested, raped and everything else these people do. They do not know how to respond, act, stop or communicate the fallout. They will start to devalue themselves causing them to turn to drugs, alcohol, food to numb their broken spirits. Then we punish them again for having those types of behaviors after addiction sets in. In order to remove a weed from a garden you would cut it at the root before it can bloom into destruction. of our most innocent. We need to apply the same stringent laws that we use for punishing drug abuse to child molesters and rapists. The 3 strike law and the 0 tolerance laws need to be applied to sex offenders. It should be one and done instead of each molester having over 100 victims before they are caught the first time. If there is no damage done to begin with there would be less chance of a child to feel the need to numb themselves from something that should have never happened in the first place. How about we take the massive amount of money we use to lock addicts up in these super max prisons and use it to build more mental health facilities to get these people the help they need and deserve. Then again maybe there’s just too much money to be made off inmates with these privatized prisons and county jails that charge inmates all sorts of expenses including phone usage, medical care or to just get any type of personal health care unless someone funds the commissary accounts which again the prisons and jails make money off of. We’ve been losing the war on drugs since it started. I think it’s time we fix it. We know how. It’s not rocket science. But again maybe it’s just not worth losing the money that people are making off these poor kids that never would be there to begin with if not for the good old child molester stomping out their innocence. I’ve never met a person that started life out wanting to become an addict in jail, a prostitute or to victimize others.
Ray W. says
Your comment reminds me of the subject of several of my previously posted comments.
At a death penalty seminar in roughly 2015, a presenting neuropsychologist discussed in detail a pilot program funded by Congress in 1994, just before Gingrich’s Contract with America ploy flipped the House to Republican control. The program was funded for 20 years. Chicago children who had experienced seven or more documented instances of different adverse childhood experiences (ACE), out of 10 categories of adverse experiences, were identified and provided with tutors, well-trained mentors and job training. The murder rate in Chicago was averaging above 900 cases per year before the program was initiated. Just under 400 children aged 16 and 17 were identified that first year. A new group of children aged into the program each year. The murder rate soon began to drop, quickly leveling out in the 400 range each year. There were fluctuations, but the rate remained relatively steady for the remainder of the program.
In 2014, the pilot program was defunded by a Republican House’s spending bill. The Chicago homicide rate soon began to climb. Republican candidates in 2016 began focusing on the rising homicide rate in Chicago, injecting fear into the minds of the gullible among us.
After the seminar, I looked into the program. Literature revealed that homicide detectives and prosecutors had to be reassigned to other units; there just wasn’t enough work.
The cynic in me infers that the defunding of the program was part of a political stratagem employed at a time that would coincide with a future 2016 presidential election, designed to provide fodder for certain sheep-like partisans.
Should the program have been expanded to other cities, to validate possible future efforts to reduce America’s homicide rate? A program that might have been capable of saving 500 lives per year in just one city just might be worth replicating in other cities. Do we know how to reduce our nation’s homicide rate? Do we have the political will to make the effort? Would Florida cities benefit from such an effort? Could Florida’s legislature fund such a project? Could Flagler government officials collaborate to fund such a project locally? Would the potential of a lower homicide rate benefit the state, the county, the community?
JH, your views above about crimes here in Flagler County seem to be diametrically opposed to one another, and I have to wonder why. Yes, molestation offenses should definitely result in prosecution and harsh sentences, but you seem to downplay the significance and seriousness of gun crime investigations. We all should be very aware by now of the proliferation of guns, legal and illegal, in society. It is also a fact of life that guns are so readily available to even underage youngsters, who are responsible for a historically high number of shootings in schools, malls, homes and other areas where people tend to congregate. Just the other day a 6-year old brought a handgun to his school and shot and seriously wounded his teacher in the middle of class! We have had a number of killings right here in Flagler County that were committed by teens of all ages, some younger than 18, and many threats by teens to shoot up their schools. I applaud the sheriff’s office for referring potential criminal matters to federal law enforcement agencies. It may come as a surprise to you, but every aspect of criminal justice has to be a team effort, in partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement as well as the public. Your assertion that the ATF when contacted “was not happy about that call at all” is VERY suspicious to me. In all of my more than 29 years in law enforcement, I never once saw any referral to a federal law enforcement agency met with disapproval. If the matter was decided to remain a local criminal matter, that was an easy conversation to be had. Exactly what was your involvement in the issue you referred to? How do you know they were “not happy”? There are too many concerns that make your comment almost completely unbelievable to me, but you have an opportunity to provide specific information to bolster your comment with facts if you have any.
No one listens though.
I know from experience!
Are the courts that stupid? Are they waiting for him to victimize another child? Why is this scumbag still free and amongst society? Lock him already!
Our State’s Attorney’s office is a joke. He should’ve been locked up during his original trial. If yall really think this guy should be in jail, go read the police report. Go actually read it, it’s disturbing and disgusting. Don’t rehabilitate this piece of shit, stick him in gen-pop and they will give him actual justice.