Larry Cavallaro, 75, a former gallery owner in Flagler Beach, pleaded guilty today to raping a woman at his home in Beverly Beach in December 2017. He could have faced up to 15 years in prison, 30 years had he been found guilty on the original charge. But he will not serve more than the one day in jail, a day he served in 2019, when he was initially booked on the accusation and promptly posted $100,000 bail.
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins sentenced Cavallaro to two years of house arrest followed by eight years of sex-offender probation, with no possibility of early termination–a remarkably lenient sentence considering either the original charge or the reduced charge to which he pleaded, the nature of the offense, and the four and a half years of complete freedom Cavallaro enjoyed in the interim as the case dragged.
Cavallaro had originally been charged with first-degree felony rape, a charge that carries a 30-year prison sentence if convicted. In a plea negotiated between his attorney, Warren Lindsey, and Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark, with the victim’s consent, the charge was lessened to “sexual battery under specified circumstances of threat or coercion,” meaning that Cavallaro raped the victim, 40 at the time, after she’d become incapacitated by drinks he made for her and a friend. Under the paradoxical law, the woman was incapacitated, but Cavallaro did not use force.
The victim woke up in Cavallaro bed after passing out from the single drink he’d made her. In her daze, she found him assaulting her.
The woman had known Cavallaro for about a year and a half. He’d employed her to help him rent out the very beach house where the assault took place, at at 2654 North Oceanshore Boulevard. The afternoon of Dec. 17, 2017, he’d invited her and her friend over to pay her for that assistance.
“This has been four and a half years of a really tragic event that occurred at 3 p.m. when I went to my job, just to do a job, and it didn’t end that way,” the victim, overcoming a broken voice, said on the stand this afternoon. Cavallaro sat across the room from her, seemingly in the same room for the first time since the assault. “Someone I trusted and I worked for destroyed me mentally, physically, financially, morally and criminally. For no set reason. No behavior ever, ever happened for this to happen to me. Nothing. So today, we’re here, you’re pleading to what you did, as I asked you to do in the beginning and you took four long years to do this. It could have been done in the beginning. We all make mistakes. This is horrible. You ruined my life. You didn’t care about my 24-year marriage.”
No fewer than 29 pre-trial hearings, motions and other procedural steps before the judge unfolded since the charge was filed.
“I save lives. I don’t destroy them. I’m a nurse,” the woman continued, before again turning to him: “Comprehend what is going on today.” She said she was still waiting for an explanation “as to why,” and for an apology. She said it was never too late to apologize.
Cavallaro did not proffer an apology.
Back at the podium with his attorney, standing in a suit and tie, his hands folded on top of a rim of the podium the whole time, Cavallaro did what many defendants do in the circumstances. He gave the judge “yes” and “no” answers, tacking on the required honorific, but did not go beyond that. The judge didn’t ask him if he had anything additional to say, nor did Cavallaro say it, except when he seemed perplexed at the reading of the charge, which his attorney attempted to soften by reading the wording of the law itself, which veils the gravity of rape in jargon.
Pre-trial hearings revealed nearly step-by-step details of those hours at Cavallaro’s home, when he had made the two women a drink called rum runner, only one of which appeared to incapacitate the victim and eventually make the other sick, though she left before the victim did. The victim asked to lie down. Her friend’s boyfriend would later describe seeing his girlfriend very sick, suggesting that both women’s drinks may have been spiked. One of the pre-trial hearings and depositions of a toxicologist attempted to deconstruct what may have been in the drinks and what effect it would have.
The victim’s husband had become concerned that night when his wife did not come home, went looking for her and found her car at Cavallaro’s. He went in, and reported seeing Cavallaro “jump up from under the covers of the bed wearing only unbuttoned and partially zipped blue jeans and no shirt,” according to Cavallaro’s arrest report. His wife was so intoxicated that he thought she needed medical attention. He took her to a shelter for physically and sexually abused women.
The sentence was a significant “downward departure” from the recommended sentence of several years in prison. The judge usually explains why a downward departure is warranted. He did not do so in this case.
During today’s plea and sentencing, Lindsay sought for his client–and was granted–four exceptions to the conditions that attach to sex offenders when they are on probation, such as a dispensation from the prohibition on living within 1,000 feet of a school, a church or other places where children gather, and a dispensation from the prohibition on volunteering in places where children gather. The exceptions are according to law, since those conditions apply only to sex offenders whose crimes were committed against children. But numerous other conditions still apply.
Cavallaro stopped dividing his time, as he used to, between Winter Park and Flagler several years ago. He now lives in Pinellas County, where he will serve his house arrest and probation terms. Either way, and unlike most defendants who plead guilty to raping a woman, he got to go home today.
- Judge Rules Against Excluding Key Interview with Detectives in Larry Cavallaro Rape Case as Details Emerge
- Prosecution Wins Key Ruling to Buttress Alleged Rape Victim’s Testimony in Larry Cavallaro’s Coming Trial
- Facing Rape Charge, Larry Cavallaro Is Briefly Booked at Flagler Jail and Released on $100,000 Bond
- Former Flagler Beach Gallery Owner Arrested on Charge of Drugging and Raping a Woman
Deborah Coffey says
I think we need to get rid of Judge Perkins. How do you rape someone and not go to prison?
Dennis Beauchamp says
Welcome to the south.
The dude says
Floriduh and all it’s depraved white dudes are something else. The revolving door at the jail only works for them though.
This is crazy! How dare he get off with house arrest and probation.
This poor woman probably just wanted it over. No wonder she agreed ..4 yrs of this. He was free the whole time?
Why didn’t the judge explain himself?
Pinellas County will hear about this case.
Beyong Disgusted says
Another rapist gets off scott free. Why even bother with the charade of a trial with these sex offenders? Nothing has changed in this society. Men still get away with rape, child molesting and other sex crimes. It is just sickening.
Money talks !!!!!
Give him the same sentence as Bill Cosby, some “Cosby time” at the very least ?
Remarkably lenient for someone who shows no remorse. Disgusting.
File this under “White privilege in action.”
This is so pathetic and sickening the man should have went to jail for 30 years… well the whole world’s going to know this sucker I’m putting his big ugly face on billboards all up and down the state of Florida everyone will know this rapist
Morgan Monaco says
As usual Money talks
Jane K. says
How tragic! Justice is not swift nor is it just! This poor woman! Remember this guys name because you’ll be seeing it again. He was not punished for his crime so he’s apt to repeat it.
Not surprised. No one give a 💩 about women. It’s always men. He should lose his tassel and berries. All rapist and molesters should IMO. They are not real men if they do these things. They are scum.
Samuel L. Bronkowitz says
If you’re a rapist, ask your lawyer to push for Terence Perkins as your judge. You’ll get a sweet deal!
The plea was negotiated between the State Attorney’s office and the defense.
Ray W. says
FlaglerLive is correct in pointing out to readers that this was a negotiated plea deal that was presented to Judge Perkins. Yes, Judge Perkins could have refused to accept the negotiated judgment and sentence. While rarely so, I have seen judges do that.
One example involved one of my clients about 20 years ago. It was an ordinary driving while license suspended case, though my client had a long list of prior DWLS convictions. He qualified for a felony DWLS charge, yet the State had charged him with a misdemeanor offense. The case was assigned to a hot-tempered county court judge, with a regular misdemeanor prosecutor. Prior to the first pre-trial proceeding (speedy trial had not been waived), I received a call from the misdemeanor division chief, who would not ordinarily handle such a case. I immediately wondered why he had taken over the case. The division chief explained that the sole eyewitness, the arresting officer, had just deployed with his National Guard reserve unit to Afghanistan for a 10-month tour. The division chief could file the charge as a felony, but he knew I could demand speedy trial and he didn’t know how the as-yet unassigned circuit court judge would rule on the speedy trial issue. The division chief offered six-month term of probation on the misdemeanor charge. I, of course, relayed to offer to my client, who accepted it. When the county court judge called the case, I began to explain the offer, but he had a printout of my client’s prior offenses in his court file. He immediately began shouting that he would never accept the offer and stormed off the bench, leaving a completely full courtroom waiting in suspense. He disappeared for about 45 minutes, during which time the prosecutor and I went into his chambers and spoke with his judicial assistant. She didn’t know where he had gone, but she agreed she would help explain the situation to the judge when he returned. Eventually, the judge entered his office, having calmed down. When he saw me standing next to the prosecutor in his waiting area, he blew up again. His judicial assistance kept saying he needed to listen to us and that if he didn’t calm himself, he would have another heart attack. He ranted for about 20 seconds or so and then paused suddenly to ask why he needed to listen to us. When we explained that the State’s only witness was deployed overseas for 10 months and that this was a best interest plea offer by the State, he suddenly asked why we didn’t tell him that in court. Of course, he had blown up and walked out before I could get to that point. He reentered the courtroom, recalled the case and accepted the plea. No mention was made of the deployed witness, because it was not necessary for the plea colloquy.
It strikes me that not one FlaglerLive commenter actually knows what drove the plea negotiations in this case. Melissa Clark is a dedicated and experienced prosecutor who knows what she is doing. I have resolved a significant number of cases with her. I don’t always agree with her, but she is so likable and professional that I have always been able to get past her hardcore position as a prosecutor. Something tells me that she went to R.J. Larizza on this case and that this outcome was offered only after she received his approval, but I concede that this nothing more than my speculating based on decades of experience.
For that matter, Warren Lindsey is an expert defense attorney in the field of sexual crimes cases. I first met him in the early 90’s when I was a prosecutor. He was experienced then and has to be even more experienced today.
Old White male rapist is ok in Flagler. Young black drug dealer is bad.
Pay attention people. If they look like the judge or sheriff, they probably are worth more than you.