Charlotte Sun (Port Charlotte, FL) – Thursday, June 13, 2013
PUNTA GORDA — The Fleming Island, Fla., man found guilty in April of raping an 11-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday at the Charlotte County Justice Center.
Twentieth Circuit Judge George Richards sentenced Christopher Maurice Roberts, 37, to a mandatory term of two life sentences — one for each count of sexual battery on a victim younger than 12 — plus 15 years in prison for the charges of lewd or lascivious battery on a victim younger than 16 and lewd or lascivious exhibition. All of his sentences are concurrent.
Roberts maintained his innocence prior to the sentencing, painting himself as a family man.
‘I’m not a sexual predator,’ Roberts said. ‘I’m not a monster. That’s not me.’
During his trial, Roberts claimed the charges were a case of mistaken identity by the victim, who told authorities she walking to a gas station to buy a soda when Roberts offered her a ride. He then took her to a home in Port Charlotte where both he and his father — Christopher James Roberts, 54, of Jacksonville — allegedly committed sex acts with her.
During the trial, the victim testified that the younger Roberts had propositioned her to work as a prostitute.
The elder Roberts has not gone to trial yet on his one charge of sexual battery on a victim younger than 12. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 15.
In addition to prison time, Richards said the younger Roberts is barred from contacting the victim, and will have to register as a sexual predator and pay court costs.
The defendant’s attorney, Steven Burch, said he filed a written appeal in the case Wednesday.
The younger Roberts has several charges pending against him from two other cases, including living off the earnings of a prostitute, driving with a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Richards told Burch and prosecutor Stephanie Powers that he wants to see the other cases resolved as soon as possible, before the younger Roberts is transferred from the Charlotte County Jail to a state prison facility.