By Staff Writer

HOMOSASSA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A Citrus County man is behind bars after detectives reveal multiple instances of inappropriate contact with a minor. Authorities say the man coerced a minor into sending explicit photographs.

Credit: CCSO | CW44 News At 10

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On January 10th, 2021, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was contacted in reference to a past sexual assault of a juvenile. Deputies made contact with the juvenile victim who disclosed inappropriate contact with the suspect identified as William (Charles) Hale Jr. on several separate occasions. Based on these allegations, Detective Richey with the CCSO Special Victims Unit was assigned to the case and began an investigation.

Due to their age, the victim was interviewed by the Child Protection Team at Jessie’s Place, a Citrus County child advocacy center. During this interview, the victim stated that over the past several months they had been coerced and threatened into sending Hale explicit photographs. In return, Hale allegedly provided the victim with prescription medication, money, nicotine products, and a cell phone. The victim also told interviewers that on several separate instances over the past few years, Hale had initiated inappropriate sexual contact.

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On February 18th, 2021, Detective Richey interviewed Hale at the CCSO Emergency Operations Center. During the interview Hale made several admissions corroborating the victim’s allegations. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Citrus County Detention Facility.

“Hale is the textbook example of a predator whom parents fear the most.  He manipulated this young victim and exploited their innocence for several years for his own gratification” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast.  “Detective Richey’s work with our community partners at the Department of Children and Families, the Child Protective Team, and the State Attorney’s Office will help bring justice to the victim as well as help begin the healing process.”

Hale was charged with two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a victim under the age of sixteen, one count of Promotion of a Sexual Performance by a Child, and one count of Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device. Hale was transported to the Citrus County Jail where he is being held without bond.

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