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$250,000 bond set for suspect in Palmetto Youth Academy sexual assaults

Bradenton Herald (FL) - 8/14/2014

Aug. 14--MANATEE -- A judge set bonds totaling $260,500 for a former contract employee of the Palmetto Youth Academy charged with sexually assaulting two teenagers at the state-run facility.

Leroy Bostic Jr., 34, was arrested Tuesday on charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation and introduction of harmful material to a minor, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The charges are punishable by up to 30 years in prison, according to Judge Mark Singer.

Deputies began investigating after two victims, ages 15 and 17, spoke with them while incarcerated at the youthful offender program under the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

One victim told deputies

Bostic slapped his buttocks, once in the shower and once with his clothes on, and would ask to watch the victim perform sexual acts on himself in exchange for showing the victim pornography on his cell phone and other privileges, such as non-facility food, according to a report.

Another inmate said he saw Bostic slap the victim on his buttocks in the shower and with his clothes on. Staff members are not allowed in showers except in special circumstances.

The victim originally disclosed those incidents to his therapist, asking if they constituted sexual abuse. He said he didn't like it but was afraid he'd get Bostic in trouble, and didn't want to because Bostic was nice to everyone, according to the report.

The second victim told deputies Bostic also gave him privileges such as use of a cell phone and non-facility food, in exchange for the victim letting Bostic watch him perform sexual acts on himself in his cell.

Sexual acts found on video

The victim said in a later interview Bostic regularly came into his cell and performed sexual acts on him. The victim told deputies it happened about 10 times, most recently July 26 during Bostic's overnight shift. Surveillance footage backed up the victim's claims, deputies said.

The victim also said Bostic asked him to guard the doorway of a laundry room while he performed sexual acts on himself.

Bostic was interviewed by deputies Thursday and said he did not know the rules about the shower, according to the report. He said he would go in there to talk to inmates, but denied ever slapping any inmates' buttocks. He denied all other charges except performing sexual acts on the second victim, which officers did not know about until the following day.

Bostic allowed officers to examine his cell phone, and they found evidence he had accessed pornography websites while at the facility, according to a report.

Bostic was formally suspended from his job following the charges.

Bostic's parents came to his first appearance and his mother asked Singer to release Bostic on supervised release so he could stay at her home in Palmetto. The parents said they don't believe their son would do this.

"I'm a Christian, he's a Christian," Bostic's mother said. "He loves God and he loves people."

Singer granted the prosecution's request for a $250,000 bond on the sexual battery charges. Bostic also faces two charges of distributing obscene materials to a minor and lewd and lascivious battery of a minor.


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