Case against accused child predator may be in jeopardy

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Walter Bonser was shocked when he learned the case against James Rybicki may be in jeopardy. In 2016, deputies arrested Rybicki accusing him of taking sexually explicit photos of young girls in his Seminole neighborhood.

Bonser says Rybicki approached his young daughter and asked her to pose in a swimsuit for him. She never did, instead, she told her dad who called the authorities. Bonser believes Rybicki is a monster.

“I’m really concerned. I mean he’s already been accused before, he might get out and do it again. Same thing,” said Bonser. “You know there’s other kids out there.”

But the lead detective on the case was less than truthful when obtaining the search warrant, prompting Rybicki’s attorney, Lucas Fleming, to file a motion asking the judge to throw out the evidence in the case. The judge granted the motion.

Lucas Fleming in his St. Petersburg office.

“We asked the detective about that and he did admit that they were going after bigger fish. They were looking for more than the false imprisonment charge,” said Fleming. “You can’t (do that) and he actually told us at the beginning of the deposition that he did not have probable cause to arrest him for false imprisonment. “

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri calls the situation upsetting. “You know it’s wrong. If he was here in Pinellas County, I’d have him arrested and put in jail,” said Gualtieri. “He’s not. He doesn’t work here anymore. He hasn’t worked here since 2017.”

Rybicki is scheduled to head to court on Friday morning for a hearing. Fleming believes prosecutors will have no choice but to not move forward with the case. But a representative with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office told Eight on Your Side they are not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Bonser is hopeful Rybicki is prosecuted. He feels if not, he will do this again.

“Oh yeah, there’s no doubt. It’s just that guy. That type of person,” said Bonser. “Thinks he’s above the law. “

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