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Plea deal reduces molesting charges
By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2000
LARGO -- A Clearwater resident accused of molesting two of his 11-year-old daughter's friends during a sleepover pleaded no contest this week to reduced misdemeanor charges.
Frank Binkiewicz, 46, was initially charged with committing lewd and lascivious acts on a minor, which are felonies. But in a plea deal with prosecutors, Binkiewicz pleaded no contest on Monday to two battery charges.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Lauren Laughlin then sentenced him to two years' probation. The judge also ordered him to move out of the Countryside neighborhood he now shares with the two victims. He owns a house there.
Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser said the two girls he victimized did not want to testify at trial, opening the door to the plea.
The mother of one of the victims said the girls were terrified at the prospect of recounting their experience in front of strangers during trial.
"Since there wasn't much damage to the kids, we felt it was just better off to be done with the case and move on," said the mother. "It would have really hurt the kids if they were forced to testify."
The mother and the children are not named in this story because of the nature of the charges.
If convicted at trial on the original felony charges, Binkiewicz faced up to 30 years in prison.
In January, Binkiewicz entered a bedroom where the girls were sleeping, police said. Detectives said he sucked on both the 11-year-old's toes and fondled them.
One of the girls was awakened at some point and watched him leave the bedroom, Clearwater police said.
The other girl "felt this but didn't realize actually what occurred," a police report said.
The girls reported the incident to their parents the next day.
Binkiewicz, who is an engineer, must undergo counseling, have no contact with the victims and pay $220 in court costs. The judge set no deadline by which he must sell the house he lived in at the time the charges were filed.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.