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Judge sets bail for boy charged with rape

Bail was set at $50,000 Wednesday for the 14-year-old boy accused of raping an 11-year-old girl at Riviera Middle School. Also Wednesday, the boy's attorney, J. Andrew Press, said he will ask County Judge Walter A. Fullerton III to reconsider his ruling last week transfering the boy's case from juvenile court to adult court.

Fullerton's decision exposes the boy to the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted of sexual battery. No such punishment is available in juvenile court.

Prosecutors asked Fullerton to transfer the case, describing the boy as a dangerous sex offender.

The boy is accused of raping the girl in a stairwell at Riviera during school hours. Prosecutors say the boy also is suspected in several other attacks with sexual overtones.

Press said that if Fullerton refuses to change his mind, he will consider appealing the judge's ruling to stop the case from proceeding in adult court.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled March 5.

Press said he also will seek to reduce his client's bail. Assistant State Attorney Linda H. Babb requested a $10,000 bail. Fullerton, however, set bail five times that amount.

Press said the boy's parents probably can't raise enough money to make the $50,000 bail.

But even if they could, the boy would merely be transferred from the Pinellas County Jail to the Juvenile Detention Center because he faces additional charges in juvenile court, Press said.