Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

President of Hernando Realtors, charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, resigns

SPRING HILL — The outgoing president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors resigned Wednesday after he was accused of fondling and inappropriately touching a teenage girl while she was visiting the real estate office where he works.

Gary Lee Budek, 50, who lives northwest of Brooksville, was arrested Dec. 20 and faces three counts of lewd and lascivious behavior, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

The inappropriate touching took place between June and October at Prudential Tropical Realty, 2166 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill, authorities said. The unidentified girl was between 12 and 16 years old.

Over that time period, deputies said, the girl was at the office on three separate occasions, doing schoolwork and helping employees with odd jobs.

On one occasion, Budek is accused of licking sugar from her face and trying to kiss her. On another, he was rubbing the girl's neck and slid his hands down her shirt to touch her bare breasts, the Sheriff's Office report says. The girl told authorities that Budek had touched her breasts on two other occasions.

On Dec. 10, the girl made a phone call set up by authorities to Budek. In the call, he told her he was sorry for touching her chest and said it wouldn't happen again, the report said.

During a recorded interview on Dec. 20, Budek admitted to the allegations described by the girl, the Sheriff's Office said. He said it was intentional, but a "momentary lapse in judgment." He has no arrest record in Florida.

In another recorded statement, a man told authorities he had confronted Budek about the incident. Budek told him he "jokingly made a motion to lick the sugar from (the girl's) face and accidentally his tongue hit her mouth," according to the Sheriff's Office.

Budek was released Saturday from the Hernando County Detention Center after posting $15,000 bail.

Budek's term as president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors was set to run through the end of the year. Debra Myers, who was scheduled to take over Jan. 1, assumed the duties on Wednesday.

Myers declined to discuss additional details of Budek's case.

"We're really not commenting at this point," she said. "We feel it's a law enforcement matter."

Budek and his employer did not immediately return calls from the Times on Wednesday.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.

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