Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Molestation charges follow man from Hernando to Pasco

Frank Torres will spend the rest of his life in prison, plus another 125 years to boot, for molesting a young girl in Hernando County over a span of several years.

Now officials in Pasco County plan to prosecute him on another charge of abusing the same victim.

Why spend the resources trying a man who will never live outside a prison again?

"Cases are reversed all the time for different reasons," said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney for Pinellas and Pasco counties. "On an individual like this who appears to be a pretty bad buy, why not control your own destiny?"

A Hernando jury convicted Torres, 53, in November of nine separate sex crimes, and a judge handed down the sentence last month. A week later, he was brought to the jail in Land O'Lakes where he now awaits trial for capital sexual battery, which carries another potential life sentence.

Authorities say Torres abused the girl in Lumberton in 2005 and 2006, beginning when she was 8 years old. It continued one county north, officials say, on occasions when the girl was visiting a relative.

Torres admitted to engaging in sex acts short of intercourse with the girl. Now 14 years old, she testified in his trial last year about what happened.

Bartlett said his office is moving forward with its case because of the seriousness of the crime and the possibility that Torres' other convictions could be overturned on appeal.

"A guy that abuses children should go to prison (for life), and we want to be sure that's where he goes and stays," Bartlett said.

But Robert Newmiller, Torres' brother who is caring for Torres' 16-year-old daughter, called a second prosecution "overkill."

"It's extremely improbable that he would win on an appeal. He was convicted on a number of counts," said Newmiller, 50, who lives in Pennsylvania.

He also questioned the impact on the girl who was abused, who might have to testify again.

"The reality of it is that the victim will be further victimized unnecessarily," Newmiller said.

Bartlett disputed the argument that another trial would waste taxpayer dollars.

"It's not that big of a deal (financially) to try a capital sexual battery that's a confession case," he said. "The taxpayers pay us to work all day, all week. It's not like we've got to pay somebody to come in and deal with this."

He added that his office would consider a plea deal with Torres for a long prison term, but not dismissing the case.

"If we drop our charges and he somehow got out of what happened up there (in Hernando County), then we don't have any more charges," Bartlett said.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at or (727) 869-6245.

Molestation charges follow man from Hernando to Pasco 02/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 8:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.