Larry Cavallaro, 72, a Beverly Beach property owner and former owner of a local gallery, was arrested today in Orange County on a Flagler County warrant on a charge of sexual battery, or rape, of an incapacitated woman he is alleged to have drugged.
It is a somewhat convoluted case dating back a year and a half
Flagler County Sheriff’s detectives started investigating the case since in January 2018, based on reports by the alleged victim, her friend and her husband, all three of whom had direct contact with Cavallaro around the time of the alleged incident.
The incident is alleged to have taken place the night of Dec. 17, 2017 at Cavallaro’s home, at 2653 North Oceanshore Boulevard, a property Cavallaro has owned since 1994. He is a Winter Haven resident, but has lived in Beverly Beach on and off. The property in beverly Beach was homesteaded in 2017 and 2016 (at the time of the alleged incident), but hasn’t been homesteaded since. A decade ago he co-owned Castle Designs Gallery
The alleged victim, now 42, was with her friend at Cavallaro’s home after the two women had just finished finished their shifts at a restaurant. He made them a drink called Rum Runner, what he called a homemade recipe, poured from a V8 container.
The alleged victim had just one drink. She recalls falling down. She told detectives she then remembered waking up to Cavallaro allegedly performing oral sex on her while she was on his bed, unclothed.
Her husband reported to detectives that that night he’d become concerned when his wife hadn’t returned home and was not answering calls. They were declined every time he would place one. Somehow he found his wife’s vehicle in back of Cavallaro’s home, “and so he responded to the back yard of that residence due to believing that they would still be out back enjoying a drink,” according to the narrative in Cavallaro’s arrest report. The door was open. He went in. He reported seeing Cavallaro “jump up from under the covers of the bed wearing only unbuttoned and partially zipped blue jeans and no shirt,” the report states, while his wife sat up, unclothed.
The woman’s husband then “forced Larry Cavallaro to the ground,” holding him there as he “got his bearings as to what he was witnessing.” He thought his wife was cheating on him, and decided to let Cavallaro up. But once home, he realized that his wife was “extremely intoxicated and believed she needed medical attention.” He took her to be physically examined by a nurse at the Family Life Center, the shelter for physically abused and sexually abused women. Both he and his wife later conducted a photo line-up and identified Cavallaro as the person allegedly involved.
The alleged victim reported the incident in a sworn statement on Jan. 3, 2018. Her husband reported his version of the alleged incident on Jan. 3. On Jan. 4, the woman’s 27-year-old friend–with whom she’d gone to Cavallaro’s house–provided a statement of her own. She described drinking the same drink Cavallaro had prepared–just one, but found herself unable to remember anything else until she was vomiting excessively at her home. (Her boyfriend would later provide a sworn statement saying he witnessed her in that state the night of Dec. 17.) She could not understand how one drink would have had that effect on her since she was used to drinking casually without anything like those consequences. She, too, identified Cavallaro in a photo lineup.
Detectives conducted a controlled phone call between the alleged victim and Cavallaro–a recorded phone call with them on one side and Cavallaro, unaware, on the other end of the line. It did not entirely go as planned: someone in the room became emotionally overwhelmed and stood up to leave the room during the call, on the detectives’ side, causing the recording device to fall and end the recording. By that point Cavallaro had said he’d made the Rum Runner drinks, tells the woman that she was “out of it,” and does not deny performing oral sex on her when she confronts him with the memory. But it’s not clear to what extent he spoke of the incident, as the report is lightly redacted. “Larry states that he didn’t want to do something that would be taking advantage of her and began to tell her that she was in and out of it, before the recording stops,” the arrest report states.
Under Florida law, a person incapacitated by drink or drugs is not considered to be capable of consenting to sex. The law defines “Physically helpless” as “unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.”
Cavallaro invited detectives in when they visited him on Jan. 25 and initially denied having any sexual contact with the alleged victim. He said he wasn’t interested in such contact with someone who was out of it, according to the report, but that, after taking the other woman back to her car, the alleged victim came on to him. On several occasions, detectives report that he described the alleged victim as being “like a corpse” that night.
The report does not indicate the results of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s crime lab results, at least not in its un-redacted parts. But a release issued by the sheriff’s office today states that ” Through various investigative means, and with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the FBI Crime Laboratory in Quantico, Va., detectives were able to obtain an arrest warrant on Larry Cavallaro.”
“This is another outstanding job by our Major Case detectives,” Sheriff Rick Staly is quoted as saying in the release. “These are difficult cases that take time to build.” Several detectives were involved in the case. The sheriff said in the release that it was only a matter of time before Cavallaro was apprehended, which proved accurate, as authorities in Orange County located and arrested him on Flagler’s warrant.
Cavallaro is being held without bond and will be extradited to Flagler. He faces a charge of sexual battery on a physically incapacitated person. The charge he faces is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.