Thursday, July 19, 2018
Public safety

Tampa Bay woman sexually assaulted boy, 11, up to 20 times the year their baby was born

TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

Marissa Mowry, 25, was jailed in Tampa late Tuesday, first on a capital sexual battery charge punishable by life in prison. On Wednesday, Hillsborough detectives added 14 more charges, including 11 counts of sexual assault by a person with custodial authority.

She initially told investigators the boy raped her while she was sleepy from Benadryl and an antibiotic, according to arrest records. She later told detectives the two had consensual sex 15 to 20 times in 2014, beginning that January, when the boy was 11, records state. She said he is the biological father of her 3-year-old son.

It's unclear how they knew each other. In general, a person with custodial authority may include a babysitter, a day care worker, a teacher, a coach or a foster parent, among others.

Mowry, who has lived in both Port Richey and Brandon, was taken into custody outside Busch Gardens after her first day on the job as a cashier. The theme park has terminated her, a spokeswoman said.

She was 22 years old when she began having sex with the boy at a residence in Hillsborough, the Sheriff's Office said.

She gave birth that fall.

A tipster eventually called the Department of Children and Families' child abuse hotline, triggering an inquiry that started in Pasco County and ended in Hillsborough, where the Sheriff's Office began investigating in April.

Mowry told detectives she had awakened, while using Benadryl, to find the boy "touching her sexually." She said she told him to stop, but he rolled her over, pulled her shorts to the side and had sex with her.

But later, the boy called Mowry as investigators were listening in. She said "no" when he asked her about having been "highly medicated," according to the arrest report.

Her admissions of consensual sex came after that.

State records show this is Mowry's first arrest in Florida.

A sheriff's spokesman said her son had been placed with a "responsible adult."

A post on one of Mowry's Facebook pages marks the date of the boy's birth. She posted photos of herself holding a swaddled baby. Dozens more photos followed, as the boy grew.

"My chunky love, my whole world, my universe!" she posted in May of 2015 under a photo of a wide-eyed baby holding a toy.

By then, her Facebook posts show, she was pregnant again. This time, the boy was not the father, the Sheriff's Office said. Her most recent posts show her with two children.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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