A couple found guilty of having sex on a public beach in Florida face 15 years behind bars, according to the Bradenton Herald.
Elissa Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, were charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition for an incident at Cortez Beach. The couple claimed they were not actually having sex, but a jury convicted them in only about 15 minutes on Monday.
Both Caballero and Alvarez will now have to register as sex offenders because the crime happened in front of children.
The couple were arrested July 20, 2014, after witnesses recorded video of the couple grinding on the beach and called 911 to complain. Police said at least five other people filed complaints regarding the incident.
One of those witnesses, grandmother April Champ, told the court that Alvarez and Caballero were “moving like they were having sex,” but she admitted she did not see penetration or genitals.
Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca said Caballero is looking at serving the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. He has a prior conviction for cocaine-trafficking.
Plea deals were offered to the couple, but they rejected them.
“We gave them a reasonable offer, what we felt was reasonable, and they decided it wasn’t something they wanted to accept responsibility for,” Dafonseca said. “Despite the video, despite all the witnesses.”
Dafonseca told the Bradenton Herald that it was important to prosecute Alvarez and Caballero to let the public know such behavior wouldn’t be tolerated.
“We’re dealing with basically tourists, that came from Brandon and Riverview and West Virginia, and they’re here on the beaches of Manatee County, our public beaches,” he explained. “So you want to make sure that this isn’t something that just goes by the wayside. And that it is well known to the community what will be tolerated and what won’t be.”
Watch video about the 2014 arrest, courtesy of Fox 13 News, below: