Update: As expected, the felony case against Jedediah was reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of battery and transferred to misdemeanor court on Feb. 15, 2023. On March 22, 2023, he signed a deferred prosecution agreement enabling the charge to be dropped altogether as long as he abides by the terms of the agreement.
Jedediah is 18. Devin(*) is 16. They had been dating for seven months, and for about a week, until Monday, Devin had been staying at Jedediah’s house on Lewis Shire Way in Palm Coast.
On Monday, they got into an argument that became physical, resulting in Devin calling police and Jedediah getting arrested on a felony child abuse charge stemming from dating violence, a third-degree felony.
The incident itself was not particularly violent. But it is a reminder–notably in February, which is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month–that physical and psychological abuse of any kind can have dire consequences and leave a potentially permanent stain on an individual’s legal record even if the case is resolved with minor penalties or dropped altogether.
According to a presidential proclamation marking the awareness month and issued Monday, ” Each year, around 12 percent of American high schoolers experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Young women, transgender teens, and gender nonconforming youth are disproportionately affected.”
In this particular case, Devin was sitting on Jedediah bed when he accused her of pushing his dog off the bed. She says the dog jumped on its own. The couple argued. Devin gathered her belongings and said she would leave. Jedediah tossed some of her clothes against her through the door then shut the bedroom door, preventing Devin from going in. She feared he would steal her things.
When he opened it again and Devin reached for something in the room, Jedediah “shoved her back, causing her to move backwards and strike her back on the hallway wall” behind her, according to his arrest report. He told deputies later that she had pushed him, hit him and made accusations after he told her he’d be calling her mother. A video recording Jedediah had made included a clip of Devin blaming him for marks he’d left on her after grabbing her.
Devin told him she was calling the cops. He didn’t stop her. The marks she bore were enough for Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies to determine that Jedediah was the primary aggressor. The offense between adults may have amounted to nothing more than a misdemeanor battery charge. But because Jedediah is 18 and Devin is 16, it ranks as an adult striking a child.
Jedediah was booked at the Flagler County jail, where he spent the night before posting bail on $2,500 bond. He faces a third-degree felony. If it’s not dropped, the charge will most likely be downgraded, leaving Jedediah to face a brief probationary term.
But the consequences go beyond that. He faces a no-contact order and a February 27 arraignment before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins. He’s been assigned Assistant Public Defender Regina Nunnally.
(*) Both names are pseudonyms.
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:
See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s VetoViolence toolkit.
Tuesday, February 7 is “Wear Orange Day,” to raise awareness of teen dating abuse, and to send the message that abuse will not be tolerated.2211-TDVAM-Action-Guide_FINAL