Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Oft-accused sex offender Cavaliere will spend rest of life in prison

BY PETER JAMISON

Times Staff Writer

LARGO — It has been 18 years since Henry Keith Cavaliere was first accused of inappropriately touching a young girl. During that time he ran a Clearwater contracting business, was divorced and remarried and divorced again, and avoided spending time in prison despite five arrests on suspicion of sex crimes involving children.

The next 18 years, and whatever life remains after that for Cavaliere, will be different.

A judge on Monday sentenced Cavaliere, 49, to life in prison without possibility of parole, following his conviction in March on a felony charge of lewd and lascivious molestation.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Michael Andrews' order came after statements from women who said Cavaliere had damaged their lives and families.

The case against Cavaliere was based on the accusations of a Palm Harbor girl, now 12 years old, who said he molested her during a sleepover at his house when she was 7. Yet the trial exposed a history of similar allegations, after the judge allowed two adult women to testify they had been victimized by him as children.

One of them, a 24-year-old Largo resident who now has children of her own, said Cavaliere molested her when she was 6 during a trip to Disney World. Cavaliere was arrested after the woman's mother told police in 1995, but he negotiated a deal with Orange County prosecutors, pleading no contest to a reduced charge of misdemeanor battery.

"You stole my innocence from me when I was such a small child," the woman said Monday, sobbing as she addressed Cavaliere and the court before sentencing. "You disgust me, and I do not feel sorry for you. I only wish I had the strength to do this 20 years ago."

The Tampa Bay Times is not identifying the Largo woman, or Cavaliere's 12-year-old victim from Palm Harbor, because of the nature of the case.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office victim advocate Bobbie Hodson read a statement from the mother of the Palm Harbor girl. "I will always have to live with the guilt that you did this to my child, and that I and we trusted you," the statement read. "I hope you rot in prison."

During the victims' statements, Cavaliere stood beside his defense attorneys with his head bowed, expressionless. A powerfully built man, he stood with his legs spaced apart, as if bracing for a shock. In the months since his conviction he had grown a beard. Unlike his dark head of hair, it was streaked with white.

"Mr. Cavaliere, sir," Andrews said after the statements, gazing at Cavaliere, "if you want to be heard, I'd be inclined to listen."

Cavaliere did not look up. "No, sir," he said.

Cavaliere was calm as bailiffs led him out of the courtroom. Waiting to be fingerprinted, he raised one hand to wipe his eyes.

Andrew Crawford, one of Cavaliere's lawyers, said his family members had written letters to the court on his behalf. None of them appeared in court. Crawford said they lived out of state.

Under state law, Andrews could not have sentenced Cavaliere to under 25 years in prison. Yet after the hearing, the 24-year-old Largo woman said only the life sentence handed down by the judge, and its built-in assurance that Cavaliere will never be free to harm another child, would have sufficed.

"He's done this to too many people, and he kept getting off. He doesn't get punished, and this time he did," she said.

"He deserved what he got."

Comments
Syria’s starved, rebellious suburb under attack

Syria’s starved, rebellious suburb under attack

BEIRUT — The airstrikes came at a rate of one a minute, with horrible results: civilians fleeing collapsing buildings, children trapped under slabs of concrete, paramedics grimly rushing the bloodied victims away on stretchers. At least 100 people we...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Schools nationwide are on heightened alert in the wake of last week’s fatal shootings in Broward County, and in the Tampa area, that means official warnings about social media posts and more calls for police action.Two Tampa boys, one 15 and one 16, ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday informally supported adding as many as 10 school resource officers in county schools, including one for every elementary school, in an effort to bolster security in the wake of the deadly school...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Pasco commission balks at landfill plan

Pasco commission balks at landfill plan

NEW PORT RICHEY – Pasco County commissioners put the brakes on expanded trash hauling to an out-of-county landfill, saying its solid waste department showed poor planning in seeking last-minute authorization on what should have been a thoroughly vett...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Video: Gator corralled from underneath pickup truck in Pasco

Video: Gator corralled from underneath pickup truck in Pasco

This rascally gator may have tried to get out of the heat, but its retreat underneath a pick-up truck in Pasco County on Tuesday morning was short-lived. That’s when the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office posted a video on its Facebook page o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Next stop for Parkland school shooting survivors: the Florida Capitol

Next stop for Parkland school shooting survivors: the Florida Capitol

PARKLAND — Students who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School began a 400-mile journey to Florida’s capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week.Three buses carryi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

BROOKSVILLE — From Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars and Carlos Santana — tunes from all over the musical spectrum.Those are a taste of the old and new favorites audiences can enjoy when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra presents its Spectrum...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bed bugs found in books at Brandon library branch

Bed bugs found in books at Brandon library branch

BRANDON — The unwelcome appearance of a lowly insect is forcing county officials to close the Brandon library branch for three days.No, not bookworms. Bed bugs.The county is bringing in a pest control company to inspect and treat the 25,000-square fo...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Age is a valued number for motocross rider Chad Reed

Age is a valued number for motocross rider Chad Reed

Chad Reed is set to break one of the most impressive records in motorsports, but it’s not the mark he wants most.The Dade City resident and native Australian has started 227 main events in the Monster Energy Supercross 450 cc series, tying former rid...
Updated: 2 hours ago