Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Public safety

Accused in New Year's Eve standoff in Zephyrhills faces new rape charges

ZEPHYRHILLS — An armed sex offender who terrorized his estranged wife on New Year's Eve, barricaded himself in a home with their three children and had a four-hour standoff with the Pasco SWAT team faces more charges.

Joseph Lee Stafford, 52, is accused of raping a teenage girl at gunpoint multiple times. He faces five counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon likely to cause serious injury and an additional count of kidnapping. He was already charged with armed kidnapping, aggravated domestic battery with a deadly weapon, domestic battery by strangulation and threatening a witness. He ended the standoff and gave himself up at 5 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

Stafford is a registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal past, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The sexual battery happened in Zephyrhills and the victim was known to Stafford, authorities said. The Times is not releasing their relationship to protect the privacy of the victim.

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