Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville man gets 35 years for molesting relative

Richard McDivitt, 44, was convicted of molesting a relative who was 14 at the time. His sister says he will appeal.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Richard McDivitt, 44, was convicted of molesting a relative who was 14 at the time. His sister says he will appeal.

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County judge on Friday sentenced Richard McDivitt to 35 years in prison for sexually molesting a 14-year-old relative, but not before a mysterious letter threatened to derail the case.

"The damage to this young lady — to her heart, her soul, her body and her mind — there's no way to ever measure how that is going to be carried on in her life," Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing said as he issued his ruling.

A jury convicted the 44-year-old Brooksville man in December of two counts of sexual battery, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation, and one count of lewd and lascivious exhibition.

The teenage girl's emotional testimony described how he performed sex acts while she slept and later forced her to give him oral sex after a driving lesson in 2006.

McDivitt took the stand to deny the charges and provided his own story. The jury didn't believe him.

Rushing's sentence labeled McDivitt — who had no prior criminal record — a sexual predator, added 10 years of sex offender probation and made him eligible for involuntary confinement.

It fell within the state sentencing guidelines and satisfied prosecutor Lisa Herndon, who had asked for 30 years. McDivitt faced a minimum of 21 years behind bars and a maximum of 90.

The entire hearing nearly dissolved after McDivitt's attorney produced a 125-word typed letter mailed Jan. 12 to his client in jail. It purportedly was sent by the victim and recanted her testimony, suggesting it was part of an extortion scheme, according to a copy reviewed by the Times.

"Richard, Why did you not just give (my mom) the money, then all the lies would never have been told," it starts. Later, it states: "I don't want to see you in prison. I hope this keeps you out and makes them let you go free."

The victim, now 17, testified that she didn't write the letter. "I have never seen that. I have never written to him," she said under oath. "I don't know what this is."

The judge declared it was not valid and asked the State Attorney's Office to investigate the matter to determine whether it perpetrates a fraud.

McDivitt's sister, Lequita Nolan of Lakeland, said outside the courtroom that she wasn't worried about the stiff sentence, saying, "We are going to appeal the whole deal."

She sat through the trial and thinks that the teen's story was inconsistent and unbelievable.

As for the letter, Nolan said she believes it. "I think she's lying," she said of the victim. "Who else would write one?"

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Brooksville man gets 35 years for molesting relative 01/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 6:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman

    Blogs

    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion

    Fire

    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.