Pre-Teen With A Record of 27 Offenses Sentenced to Group Home
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A 12-year-old boy whose record showed he committed 27 crimes has been sentenced to a group home for counseling after an abduction and sexual assault involving a 9-year-old boy.
A judge on Monday decided to sentence the boy to a year in a state group home, but retained jurisdiction, meaning Matthew cannot be released without judicial approval.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Manuel Menendez read the child’s record: petty theft, grand theft, strong-armed burglary, sexual battery, kidnapping.
In some cases, the day after being released from custody he was picked up for a new offense, according to the files.
But on March 4, Matthew and an 11-year-old friend, Bobby, entered adult court after their indictment by a grand jury on charges of sexual battery and kidnapping.
The two were charged with forcing a 9-year-old boy into an abandoned building and forcing him to take part in sexual activities.
In an agreement worked out between a defense attorney and prosecutors, Matthew pleaded guilty to lesser crimes of committing a lewd act and false imprisonment.
If he had been sentenced as an adult, he could have received a penalty of up to life in prison.
As a juvenile, he will undergo treatment and counseling at Sarasota Palms, a state Health and Rehabilitative Services group home.
Bobby received the same plea agreement and a similar sentence last month.
Daniel Hernandez, Matthew’s attorney, said after the court proceeding: ″If he has done everything in these programs and the results indicate he is ready to return to society, I hope he would be released.″