TAMPA — State prosecutors are trying to keep a Lutz man behind bars following his third arrest in two years involving allegations of sexual advances toward children.
So far, the effort has proved to be easier said than done.
Leo Frank Terminello, 43, was booked into Orient Road Jail on Tuesday, accused of offering two girls, ages 8 and 10, $15 to watch him fondle himself.
Less than seven hours later — with Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi vowing to ask a judge to revoke his bail the next morning — Terminello walked free after posting $15,000 bail.
Deputies went back to his house Wednesday and took him into custody again, this time on violation of probation involving an earlier misdemeanor marijuana conviction.
No bail has been set. And Bondi said she will ask a judge today to do what she wanted to do the day before: revoke bail granted in 2006 on two cases scheduled for trial on May 27.
Terminello of 5302 Clouds Peak Drive was accused in January 2006 of luring a young neighbor girl, then 8, into his home several times by telling her he wanted to talk with her. Once inside, he sat on the couch with the child on his lap and played "the horse dance," an arrest report reads. Once, he offered the girl $5 for a school project if she would participate, a deputy wrote in an arrest report.
Eight days after Terminello posted $9,500 bail to be released on that lewd or lascivious conduct charge, he was back in jail on Jan. 25, 2006, accused of lewd or lascivious exhibition.
In that case, Terminello was accused of standing in public view on March 13, 2005, watching four girls playing volleyball when he started masturbating, court records say. A 16-year-old who was there identified Terminello from a photo pack.
It has been more than two years since those charges were filed, and Terminello has continued to operate his pool cleaning business while his attorneys asked a judge to postpone going to trial, records show.
"We fully expect him to be exonerated when all is said and done," attorney Thomas Maiello said Wednesday. The state faces weaknesses in the cases, he said, including little evidence and witness credibility.
Court records mention a fourth allegation of lewd behavior by Terminello stemming back to 2003, when he arrived at a house to clean a pool and was discovered shortly afterwards by the victim's mother with the child's legs wrapped around his waist. After the mother asked Terminello to leave, the legal filing reads, the woman asked her daughter what they were doing and she said it was a "dance."
Prosecutors chose not to file any charges in that case, due to paltry evidence, Maiello said.
He said Terminello is married, with two children.
His wife, Asha Terminello, is an administrator of Juvenile Justice Services with the Agency for Community Treatment Services, where she oversees directors of juvenile probation programs and more, said Julie Reynolds, an attorney for the organization.
Reynolds said she has heard concern that Terminello's husband may have visited her at the office often over her 10-plus years at the organization, but "all the information I have been given is that that's not the case."
Even if the couple did meet at the offices, Reynolds said, no visitors are permitted access to the juvenile area.
"She's proven herself to be a good employee here," Reynolds said. "We don't have any concerns about her personally. We're very shocked by it (the charges) and concerned for her best interest. But nothing ever has given us any appearance of inappropriate behavior by her."
Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3383.