SARASOTA, Fla. – Four Sarasota men have been convicted of sexually abusing children within the community since February 2023.
The Sarasota Police Department’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) within the Criminal Investigation Division investigates crimes against children consisting of sexual assault, child pornography, child physical abuse, allegations of child neglect, and any other matter at the direction of the division commander, Captain Jonathan Todd.
The team comprises Detective Sergeant Riffe, Detective Llovio, Detective Buck, and Detective Cox.
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The Sarasota Police Department has created a close working relationship with professional colleagues to reach a common goal of keeping children safe and holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
“This goal could not be accomplished without working together, and I am proud to be a part of the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting children,” said Detective Llovio, Sarasota Police Department.
Detectives partnered with the Child Protection Center, Department of Children and Family Services, Victim Advocates, and Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office.
Clifton Renard Bean
On February 8, 2023, Clifton Renard Bean was convicted and sentenced to life for two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than 12, two counts of lewd/lascivious molestation on a child under 12, one count of battery on a child between the age of 12 and 18 by a family member, and one count of lewd/lascivious molestation on a child between 12 and 16 in 2009. Assistant State Attorney Jordan Greene and Ryan Felix prosecuted the case.
John Martin Smith
On April 6, 2023, John Martin Smith was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for committing sexual battery upon a child less than 12 years old in 2021. Assistant State Attorney Ryan Felix and Ethan Dunn prosecuted the case.
Bicente Velasquez Morales
On April 19, 2023, Bicente Velasquez Morales, a local pastor, was convicted and sentenced to life for committing sexual battery upon a child and lewd/lascivious molestation upon a child less than 12 years of age in 2019.
Assistant State Attorney Kate Metz and William Greiner prosecuted the case.
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Juan Castanon Jr.
On April 20, 2023, Juan Castanon Jr. was convicted on two counts of sexual battery upon a child less than 12 years of age, one count of lewd/lascivious molestation, and battery upon a child less than 12 years of age. Castanon Jr.’s sentencing is scheduled for May 16, 2023. Assistant State Attorney Jordan Greene and Megan Leaf prosecuted the case.
According to the Child Protection Center of Sarasota & DeSoto counties:
- Nationally, there are 4,300,000 reports of child abuse annually.
- In Florida, a child is abused every 19 minutes, 75 children daily.
- In Sarasota and DeSoto County, there are 3,200 reports of child abuse each year.
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