Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teen accused of raping girl in Chamberlain High restroom sentenced to 10 years' probation

TAMPA — For nearly a year, Tevecia Bynum hasn't been able to embrace her son.

She could only see him from a distance. In court. On the news. On a TV screen at the county jail.

Her son, Joshua Bynum, was accused last year of raping a girl in a Chamberlain High School restroom. The girl, then 16, told police she had left her classroom to retrieve something from her locker. As she passed a boys' restroom on her way back to class, the girl said, Bynum pulled her inside and raped her.

Bynum, then 16, first told detectives he had no contact with the girl. He later told police the two had consensual oral sex. A medical exam proved that intercourse took place, police said.

He was charged with sexual battery and kidnapping.

On Monday, Bynum's mother heard a different story during her son's plea deal, where prosecutors dropped the sexual battery charge and reduced the kidnapping charge to felony battery.

Prosecutor Courtney Derry said the charges were reduced because of "potential weaknesses" in the case.

The girl's teacher told prosecutors that she had asked permission to go to the restroom. Another student in the class testified that the girl told her before she left the classroom that she was going to do "you know what" with Bynum, Derry said.

Another witness saw Bynum and the girl leave the restroom together and that they "appeared to be normal."

The girl also told prosecutors she didn't yell, scream or try to run while she was with Bynum.

The girl's mother declined to speak in the courtroom Monday, but Derry told the judge that she "is okay with the way the case is being resolved."

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe sentenced Bynum, now 17, to 10 years of probation for the Oct. 3, 2011, incident and for crimes in an unrelated case.

Bynum's mother listened stoically as the judge handed down her son's punishment.

"I just wanted my son to be held accountable for what he's done," she said after the court proceedings ended. "I'm not making it seem like he's an angel, but he's not a monster."

Prosecutors said they sought a felony battery conviction because of conflicting statements in the case.

"The defense was interested in getting the sexual charges removed," said Mark Cox, spokesman for the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office. "We were interested in getting the felony conviction."

In an unrelated case, Bynum also pleaded guilty Monday to grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing and attempting to elude police, obstructing an officer without violence, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving.

In January while out on bail for the school incident, police spotted Bynum driving a stolen dirt bike. When they tried to stop him, the teen fled. He was arrested and sent back to jail.

The 10-year probation was Bynum's punishment for both incidents, the judge said.

Bynum's mother and the girl's mother sat across from each other in the nearly empty courtroom.

Neither looked at the other. Tevecia Bynum stared straight ahead at her son, who stood with shackled wrists in a red jumpsuit.

Before dismissing the court, Tharpe asked Joshua Bynum how long he'd been in jail. The teen said 335 days.

"Make no mistake, young man," Tharpe said. "You violate your probation, I will send you to prison. You understand me?"

"Yes, sir," Bynum mumbled.

After the sentencing Monday afternoon, Bynum's mother awaited her son's release. Bynum, she said, has already lost a year of his life behind bars.

He can't go back to Hillsborough County Schools. He has missed proms and football games. Instead, he will get his high school diploma through the GED test and go to a community college, his mother said. And now, he is a felon.

"The weight and the nature of this incident, there was no happy ending," she said.

Bynum's arrest has tainted his mother as well. When she searches the Internet for her name, Bynum's arrest pops up.

Laura C. Morel can be reached at or (727) 893-8713.

Teen accused of raping girl in Chamberlain High restroom sentenced to 10 years' probation 10/01/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 1, 2012 10:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  2. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]
  3. Tests show North Korea earthquake not caused by nuclear test


    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's weather agency said a magnitude 3.2 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

    People watch a TV news program reporting North Korea's earthquake, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. South Korea's weather agency said an earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural. The signs read " The weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea." [Associated Press]
  4. Forecast: Tampa Bay's first fall weekend brings scattered showers


    It may officially be fall, but Tampa Bay won't have any cooler temperatures this weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Romano: The choice does not have to be poverty or gentrification

    Local Government

    The memories must be protected. The music and the lore, too.

    The owner of Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food is refusing to give the city information on the restaurant's sales as required by his contract to occupy the city-owned Manhattan Casino. The information is needed to calculate whether the nonprofit Urban Development Solutions, headed by Larry Newsome, owes the city more than the $3,000 monthly base rent.