Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando child sex offender Harold Scism gets life plus 30 years

Harold Scism breaks down while testifying before Judge Steve Rushing during his sentencing Friday on multiple charges related to sexual abuse of a minor. A prosecutor said Scism’s story was “implausible.”


Harold Scism breaks down while testifying before Judge Steve Rushing during his sentencing Friday on multiple charges related to sexual abuse of a minor. A prosecutor said Scism’s story was “implausible.”

BROOKSVILLE — With his voice breaking and tears streaming down his cheeks, Harold Scism told the judge on Friday about a life spent working and caring for others.

Especially children.

Scism talked of faithfully going to church and teaching Sunday school. He led a Christian youth group before he got married. And even after being sent to the Hernando County Jail, Scism said he became one of the leaders of a faith-based program for inmates.

"I have always helped people," said Scism, wiping away the tears with a tissue. "I've never had a problem in my life with anything. I'm not this person that they say I am."

But none of that mattered. Circuit Judge Steve Rushing had no wiggle room: Scism's conviction on a count of sexual battery on a child under age 12 carried a mandatory life prison sentence.

Rushing added to that term another 30 years for nine other counts of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation for a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl that began at age 11.

"I'm glad to hear that you made such a good impression in jail," Rushing said to Scism. "I hope that you can make the same impact on people in the prison system."

Scism, 47, was arrested in February 2007 after the girl told a man she knew through the Internet about the sexual relationship.

The girl, now 18, told investigators she and Scism had sex three to four times a week and sometimes multiple times a day. At age 14, he impregnated her and took her to Clearwater for an abortion. Scism, who was divorced, told her he loved her and even bought an apparent engagement ring, jurors learned.

In the subsequent investigation, another woman came forward, alleging Scism had a sexual relationship with her, too. The woman, now 20, said it occurred between the ages of 14 and 16.

During the trial, Assistant State Attorney Lisa Herndon said Scism "took these children on as his own sexual toys."

But Dolores Peers, Scism's former wife and the mother of his 11-year-old daughter, told Rushing on Friday that the young women were lying and they had behavioral problems that weren't allowed to be brought up during the trial.

"They have a documented pattern of bad behavior," Peers said. "They were street-tough kids. This was not a fair trial."

The St. Petersburg Times is withholding significant details of the case to protect the identity of the victims.

In an interview with investigators, Scism confessed to the prolonged sexual relationship, providing intimate details that matched the first girl's story. He said he knew it was wrong and tried to stop but couldn't. But he denied any sexual involvement with the second girl.

During the trial, Scism took the witness stand in his own defense and changed his story: He denied everything.

After the sentencing, Herndon said investigative records show Scism provided details about the girl and their relationship that point to his guilt.

"I feel justice was served," she said. "His story was … implausible."

Joel Anderson can be reached at joeland or (352) 754-6120.

Hernando child sex offender Harold Scism gets life plus 30 years 10/09/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 9, 2009 6:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre


    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  2. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police


    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  3. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot


    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  4. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  5. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]