TAMPA — The mother of a sex crime victim issued a statement Thursday critical of Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober, days after her teenage daughter's case became the subject of political sparring in the race for Ober's office.
Andrew Warren, the former federal prosecutor challenging Ober, brought up the case against Alexander Pelzer at a luncheon last week. He said that Ober's office initially declined to charge Pelzer and only brought sex charges after a TV news report brought to light allegations that Pelzer had sexually abused the 17-year-old girl.
Ober responded, in part, by saying the victim was with Pelzer voluntarily. Warren subsequently issued a news release accusing Ober of criticizing a rape victim.
On Thursday, the girl's mother contacted Warren's campaign, then later emailed a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. She wrote:
"It's been said, 'Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our judicial system.'
"We no longer believe in that. Lies have been told, trust has been broken on many levels … At no point should anyone blame a victim of childhood sexual exploitation for their trauma. It's among the most inhumane things someone can project upon a victim.''
Ober did not respond to a request for comment. He has previously said that he was not blaming the victim and accused Warren of exaggerating the facts of the case for political gain.
The race is the first time since Ober was first elected in 2000 that he has faced a serious challenge for re-election.
Contact Dan Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3386.