Lake Wales man guilty of lewd molestation

JURY VERDICT: Lake Wales man guilty of lewd molestation

Charles Bailey

When Charles Bailey found out he was going to be arrested for molestation in 2013, he fled from his Lake Wales home and left the state of Florida.

Bailey, 73, evaded law enforcement for more than a year before he was apprehended by US Marshalls in Virginia. On March 15, a jury convicted him of lewd molestation.

Assistant State Attorney Ashley McCarthy told jurors law enforcement began investigating Bailey in 2013 when a victim came forward to say she’d been molested by him. When the girl was between the ages of 9 and 11, Bailey would touch her inappropriately and perform sexual acts on her.

The defense claimed the victim lied about the allegations so she’d get attention, but McCarthy brought in a witness who had also been molested by Bailey.

The woman, who is now in her 30s, testified in court that she was living at the same address as the current victim and was also between the ages of 9 and 12 when Bailey performed sexual acts on her.

Bailey took the stand March 16 and denied ever touching them inappropriately, saying both victims were lying. But McCarthy reminded jurors that when they looked at the evidence, testimony from the witness and the fact that Bailey fled the state, it was clear to see the victims’ assertions weren’t made up.

“The victims were done covering up for him for so many years, and he knew it,” McCarthy said in her closing statement. “That’s why he ran.”