CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A Florida juvenile victim approached law enforcement about sexual abuse they had sustained from a Citrus County man. Further investigation revealed 3 additional juvenile victims, ultimately putting their abuser behind bars until 2060.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, 41-year-old Charles Dipilla of Crystal River was sentenced to 40 years in prison for multiple sexual related charges.
In 2019, Dipilla was arrested by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) after a juvenile victim disclosed they had been sexually assaulted. Detective Jonathan Richey with the CCSO Special Victim’s Unit (SVU), was assigned to investigate the allegations which were reported to CCSO in early October. During Detective Richey’s investigation, he was able to obtain enough evidence to arrest Dipilla the same day.
An intensive follow-up investigation was conducted by Detective Richey in cooperation with the Child Protection Team and the State Attorney’s Office in order to obtain further evidence to support the victim’s allegations. During such, Detective Richey was able to identify three additional juvenile victims who also alleged sexual abuse by Dipilla. Based on this new information, Detective Richey developed probable cause and rearrested Dipilla on November 4, 2019, for multiple charges related to the new victims while he was still in custody from his October arrest.
Friday, during his court hearing, Dipilla was found guilty on two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Child Under 12, two counts of Sexual Battery of a Child Over 12, two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Victim under 16, and two counts of Showing Obscene Material to a Minor. Judge Howard sentenced Dipilla to four 40-year sentences, two fifteen-year sentences, and two five-year sentences to be served concurrently.
“The victims in this case showed great bravery in coming forward about their abuse. Because of their courage, and the unwavering dedication of the professionals here at the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Jessie’s Place, and the State Attorney’s Office, another dangerous predator has been taken off of the streets of Citrus County,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “I hope these brave victims will serve as an example for anyone else dealing with this type of horrific abuse and show them that it is safe for them to speak up and tell someone. This one victim helped end the suffering of three others.”