A Florida man who is a convicted sex offender has been sentenced to life in prison for crimes against children that happened in a public pool.
Following a Charlotte County trial, Timothy Richard Rice, 44, of North Port, was found guilty in March 2022, of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation and two counts of Lewd or Lascivious Conduct.
In 2019, Rice went to the Ann Dever Regional Park Pool and touched two children in a lewd or lascivious manner.
On Thursday, March 21, 2019, Charlotte County deputies responded to the Ann Dever Regional Park swimming pool at the request of the Aquatics Coordinator.
An unknown parent reported to the Aquatics Coordinator that a man touched her daughter at the pool on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.
The parent advised the Aquatics Coordinator that she identified the man as Timothy Rice by his FDLE Sexual Offender flyer.
Detective Sadler, assigned to monitoring Sexual Offenders/Predators in Charlotte County, took over the investigation due to the nature of the reported incident and the possible offender’s status.
Detective Sadler researched Timothy Rice and learned in 1998 he had been a lifeguard and martial arts instructor in St. Petersburg, Hillsborough County, Florida, and was convicted of molesting several girls at an apartment complex pool.
Sadler also notified the North Port Police Department and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office of the incident. While gathering intelligence he learned there were complaints in North Florida that Rice was “watching kids” at two different State Parks.
On March 22, 2019, Detective Sadler returned to the pool after he was advised deputies were with Timothy Rice at that location.
The lifeguard on duty told investigators that he has saw Rice at the pool for approximately two weeks, bringing toys like squirt guns and only playing with the children.
The lifeguard said he was recently contacted by an unknown parent who advised that her juvenile daughter told her that Timothy Rice squeezed her butt and asked for a kiss.
While on the scene, a parent advised a deputy that Timothy Rice had grabbed her juvenile daughter’s thigh while they were in the water.
Detective Sadler determined that Timothy Rice was actively prowling for a child victim.
Timothy Rice was arrested on scene and charged with Loitering or Prowling by Certain Offenders in Close Proximity to Children.