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Police briefs

Sex offender accused of rape, break-in

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 21, 2003

LAND O'LAKES -- A woman told authorities someone broke into her home last week, climbed into her bed as she slept and began to sexually assault her before she fought him off.

The man wasn't just somebody she knew, according to reports. He was a registered sex offender who has assaulted others before, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report said.

Deputies arrested Richard James Forsythe, 44, early Thursday morning and charged him with involuntary sex battery. The woman identified Forsythe, of 20765 Green Creek Circle in Land O'Lakes, as the man who attacked her March 10 in her home.

She said Forsythe held a pillow over her face and penetrated her before she pushed him off, the report said. When he stood up, she ordered him to leave, the report said.

Authorities withheld the woman's name because of the nature of the charge.

There was a lag between the incident and the arrest because it took time for the woman to come forward and for deputies to find Forsythe, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

Forsythe remained at the county jail in Land O'Lakes on Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Forsythe served two years in prison in the early 1990s on several charges of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child younger than 16 years old, according to records. He is registered with the state as a sex offender for those Hillsborough County incidents.

Sex offender arrested in parole violation case

LAND O'LAKES -- A Pasco County sex offender was arrested in Georgia this week on warrants for violating his probation.

Daniel Christopher Battershell, 22, was placed on probation in November 2000 after he was convicted of two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child younger than 16, as well as two counts of aggravated assault.

Battershell, who is registered with the state as a sex offender, last told authorities he was living in Aripeka, according to records. But he left the state and was living in Warner Robins, Ga., a town near Macon, when authorities caught up to him Monday.

Battershell was transferred to the Pasco County jail in Land O'Lakes on Tuesday night, where he is being held without bail.

2 money bags stolen in school break-in

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Authorities are looking for the burglar who broke into the Heritage Academy Christian School this week and stole money from the administrator's desk.

The break-in occurred sometime between Sunday and Wednesday, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report said.

When school administrator Diane McDuffie returned to her office Wednesday afternoon, the report said, her desk drawer was open, and two money bags were missing. A Tupperware container that held loose change had also been emptied, the report said.

Authorities would not disclose how much was taken.

Anyone with information may call the Pasco County Sheriff's Office toll-free at 1-800-854-2862.

Teen arrested in home, charged with burglary

ZEPHYRHILLS -- A 17-year-old Dade City boy was arrested early Thursday inside the home of a woman he was trying to rob, authorities say.

The teen, whose name was withheld by Zephyrhills police because of his age, removed a screen to enter the Eucalyptus Drive home through a glass door, Capt. Randy Belasic said.

The noise from the intruder woke the woman about 5:35 a.m. and she called police, Belasic said.

Officers found the boy in the home when they arrived, he said. They arrested him on a charge of burglary and discovered he was also wanted on a warrant for contempt of court.

Temple Terrace man held in child abuse case

ZEPHYRHILLS -- A Temple Terrace man wanted on a warrant in connection with child abuse and retaliation against a state witness was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Crystal Springs.

Authorities found Charles David Morgan, 32, about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at 1538 Warbler St., according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

Officers who ran a computer check on Morgan, of 8607 Angler's Point Drive in Temple Terrace, discovered he was wanted on a Hillsborough County warrant, the report said. He was taken to the county jail in Land O'Lakes, where he remained Thursday in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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