A 25-year-old Jacksonville firefighter accused of having sex in South Florida with a 16-year-old girl he had met through Facebook has been cleared of charges, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
But until the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department receives official confirmation that Broward County has dropped charges against Ladarius Lane-Berry, he remains on administrative leave, spokesman Tom Francis said.
Lane-Berry was taken into custody April 27 on charges of sexual assault of someone 16 or 17 years old by a person older than 24 and traveling to meet a minor after use of a computer to lure her, according to the Broward County jail. The teen told the Davie Police Department on March 18 that she had sexual intercourse with a man without her consent, according to the arrest report. She said she met him through Facebook about a year before when she was 16 years old and they had conversations about sex.
The two met in May 2015 in front of her school, but she got out of his car after his attempts to have sex, she said in the report. The girl told police he apologized and they agreed to meet again in March. They had sex in the back of his car in a Waffle House parking lot even though she told him no, according to the report.
The two arranged to meet again April 27. But when Lane-Berry drove up, Davie police officers were waiting and arrested him, according to the report.
Broward County prosecutors decided not to press charges against the firefighter Tuesday. Defense lawyer Johnny McCray said the case had questionable evidence.
“Any time they don’t go forward with a case, it’s because prosecutors don’t think they can get a conviction,” he told the Sun-Sentinel.
Lane-Berry has been a Jacksonville firefighter since 2014 and was put on administrative leave after his arrest.