Man who was falsely accused of rape, back in jail

ocala news, marion county news, rape, sexual assault
Joseph Garcia

Ocala, Florida — Probation officers say a man who was on felony probation was arrested after he left Marion County without permission.

Records show that the man left Marion County for a job interview with Rita Staffing in Lakeland.

In August of 2011, when he was just 18 years old and a senior at West Port High School, Joseph M. Garcia, was arrested and charged with Sexual Battery.

At the time, a 14-year-old female, who Garcia said he believed to be 16 or 17 years old, accused him of forcing her into a car and raping her.

The female told Marion County Sheriff’s deputies that she and Garcia had met up at Liberty Park, located at 10575 Southwest 57th Terrace Road to “walk around the park for a little bit.”

She stated that while they were walking she also showed him where she lived and then they walked back to the park.

According to reports, once they were back at the park, the two of them stood in front of Garcia’s vehicle and talked.

The female stated that while they were talking, Garcia began making sexual advances toward her. However, she said she declined his advances. She told the deputies that when she told Garcia no, he punched her in the ribs and forced her into the backseat of his vehicle. She said Garcia then tore off her shorts and underwear and forcefully had sex with her. She stated that she was pinned down and could not move during the incident.

During a recorded interview, Garcia told deputies that the sex was consensual. He also told deputies that he was under the impression that the female was 16 years old. Deputies later informed Garcia that she was only 14.

Garcia also stated that he had not had sex with the female in his car. Instead, he told deputies that the female invited him to her house and that the two had sex in her bedroom.

During a second interview with the female, she admitted that she had lied and that the two did have sex in her bedroom.

Garcia, now 22, is currently being held without bond. His next court appearance is on January 13, 2016.

His original charge of Sexual Battery was later changed to Lewd Lascivious Battery on a Child Age 12-15.

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