Statement from Lauren Book, M.S.Ed., CEO and Founder of Lauren’s Kids, following the acquittal of Richard McDade on sexual abuse charges:
“Today, a previously convicted man has been allowed to walk free. Today, a man who was convicted and designated as a child molester, sentenced to life in prison has been acquitted. Today, Richard McDade has been allowed to take back the keys to his ice cream truck and resume business as usual. Tomorrow, he will be back on the streets serving ice cream to children…perhaps even yours.
“This afternoon’s acquittal of Richard McDade on sexual abuse charges is proof that new laws were needed regarding the admissibility of evidence in child sexual abuse cases. Thankfully, HB 7001, which will allow one-way recordings made secretly by child victims to be used as evidence of child sexual abuse, has passed through the Florida Legislature and is awaiting Governor Scott’s signature.
“McDade will now be allowed to go back to Lee County and his job as an ice cream truck driver — having contact with children every day — as a result of the inadmissibility of a cell phone recording during the retrial of McDade. A previous jury, working with the benefit of the recording, was able to hear the full scope of the evidence and found McDade guilty. Without this critical piece of evidence, he now walks free. The only difference between McDade serving a life sentence in prison and a lifetime ability to victimize children is this one audio file.
“We are pleased that the Florida Legislature wisely and swiftly changed the out-of-date law so Florida’s criminal justice system can catch up with technology, but saddened that this excellent change comes too late to help the victim in this case.”