Articles Posted in Pasco County

A Florida woman hacked into a man’s social media accounts and then “maliciously posted” nude photos of him, according to officials.

The 24-year-old was arrested Saturday in Port Richey after she demanded the unidentified give her money to take down the X-rated content, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.

Using the man’s old phone, the woman shared the nudes to his own social media profiles and changed his passwords, preventing him from deactivating the accounts, according to reports.

The woman allegedly sent the man a screenshot of a post she had not yet made public and then demanded the man give her money to “stop her actions,” officials said.

When someone posts unauthorized and non-consensual intimate images of you with the intent to embarrass, defame, ridicule or harass you, they are committing the act of revenge porn or sextortion. These malicious actions are a brutal means by which another person attempts to manipulate, humiliate, degrade, defame and destroy you. Our Florida Sextortion Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you to know that you have done nothing wrong. You do not deserve to be tormented online and we can help you through this difficult time.

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A west Pasco County parent has sued the school district, alleging its negligence allowed her child to be sexually abused several times by a Ridgewood High teacher at the school campus.

The teacher was arrested in March 2018 and faces two charges of sexual assault of a minor child by a custodial authority.

The family contends that the school district should be held financially responsible, as it failed to properly supervise the teen or the teacher, and it did not provide adequate security as a precaution to “foreseeable criminal acts on the premises.” The family argues that the district should have known about prior instances of sexual misconduct by employees against students, and done something about it.

The complaint says the victim suffered physical and psychological injuries, and incurred medical expenses for treatment. It asks for a judgment in excess of $15,000.

The physical, mental, and emotional effects of sexual abuse and assault are very real and far-reaching. Victims often struggle for years following sexual assault or abuse. In many cases, victims find need therapy, counseling, medication,and more in order to heal. Treatment can undoubtedly be beneficial, but also costly, which can be be even more stress added on victims who are already struggling to move forward with their lives.

Our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton offer compassionate legal representation for victims of sexual abuse and assault. Many people do not realize that they can take civil action against the responsible party. We can help you pursue financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.

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A Pasco County mom had a big fright last weekend when her son almost flew off a ride at The Arnold Midway set up in the Wiregrass mall parking lot.

Her son was on the Orbiter when she noticed something was not right. She noticed her child slipping and about to fly out of the ride. She ran over to the operator who stopped the ride before the child was harmed.

The ride remained open after he got off. A sticker on the side shows it passed it’s October 24 inspection by the Department of Agriculture aside from placing cart #10 out of service because of a cracked lap bar.

There have been reports in the past on people flying off of this specific ride.

If you suspect an issue with a fair ride, you can report it to the Department of Agriculture at 1-800-HELP-FLA or FloridaConsumerHelp.com.

Carnival and amusement park rides can and do happen. The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows the following stats:

  • In 2004, carnival rides sent 2,500 people to hospital emergency rooms.
  • In 2006 approximately 8,800 people were injured on amusement park rides.
  • From 1987 to 2000, 51 people were killed on amusement park rides. Roller coasters accounted for 16 deaths and whirling rides accounted for 11 deaths.
  • Children represent about one half of those injured by amusement park rides.
  • Kids between 10 and 14 years old sustain the most injuries of any age group.
  • Children are victims in 75% of accidents involving rider falls or forceful ejection from the ride.

Amusement parks and carnivals can be so much fun for young children. Families flock to these amusement parks for adventure, excitement and fun. However, not all rides are truly safe and not all ride operators are trained properly or paying careful attention. Amusement park ride safety is especially important for children, who represent half of those injured or killed in amusement park ride accidents.

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The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is warning people of online extortion crimes on the rise in the area, also known as “sextortion. “

Let’s say you meet someone online and develop a relationship. As things progress, the person may ask for nude images from you. Once they receive those photos or videos, the person will threaten to send the video or images to all their family and friends on social media unless they get money.

Pasco County’s biggest concern is that a lot of these cases involve people operating outside of the country, which makes it hard for local law enforcement to deal with.

It is also important to point out that once a photo is released to the Internet, it is virtually impossible to get it off. The best way to avoid this scam is to never send nude or explicit photos to anyone.

Deputies say anyone who has experienced this should call their TIPS line to report it at 1-800-706-2488.

Our Florida Sextortion Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are all too familiar with sextortion and dating blackmail cases. What may seem completely innocent can turn dark pretty quickly in these online dating scams. If you think you are alone, you are not. Many victims are too embarrassed to step forward and ask for help. We urge you to not give in to any threats being made against you, and let us help you fight back. We know the sensitive nature of these cases, which is why we will handle it discreetly. In many cases, just a letter or phone call from us can make the dreadful situation go away.

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The final report on Hurricane Hermine is in. Heavy rainfall caused more flooding and strong winds brought down trees and powerlines.

Here are the final numbers:

Storm Surge

Cedar Key 7.5 feet

Clearwater Beach 4.41 feet

McKay Bay (Tampa Bay) 4.09 feet

St. Petersburg 3.58 feet

Port Manatee 3.21 feet

Peak Wind Gusts

Indian Shores 78 mph

Treasure Island 71 mph

St. Petersburg 63 mph

Clearwater Beach 62 mph

Cedar Key 60 mph

MacDill 55 mph

Cedar Key 54 mph

Sarasota/Bradenton 54 mph

Crystal River 53 mph

Brooksville 53 mph

Anna Maria 52 mph

Tampa 46 mph

St. Pete/Clearwater 47 mph

Lakeland 42 mph

Winter Haven 41 mph

Plant City 40 mph

Inverness 35 mph

Rainfall

Baskin (Pinellas) 22.36

Largo (Pinellas) 16.11

Gulfport (Pinellas) 14.30

Dunedin (Pinellas) 12.93

Lake Worrell (Pasco) 11.04

Seminole (Pinellas) 10.87

Belleaire (Pinellas) 10.58

Holiday (Pasco) 10.22

Clearwater (Pinellas) 10.03

Palmetto (Manatee) 9.82

Longboat Key (Manatee) 9.61

Ellenton (Manatee) 9.46

Sarasota/Bradenton (Manatee) 9.38

Port Richey (Pasco) 9.24

Tampa (Hillsborough) 6.83

Valrico (Hillsborough) 6.77

Sun City Center (Hillsborough) 6.55

Wesley Chapel (Pasco) 6.55

If your home was damaged by Hermine:

  • Get in touch with your insurance provider ASAP
  • Take any possible steps you can to protect your home from further storm damage
  • Document all damage with photos or video
  • Compose an inventory list of all damages
  • Take down notes on any information your insurance company gives you
  • Save all receipts for expenses related to the damage and/or repairs
  • Make copies of all documents sent to you by your insurance company

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When you purchase property insurance, you expect your insurance company to pay fairly on any claims dealing with storms and hurricanes, right? Sadly, this is not always the case.

At Whittel & Melton, our New Port Richey Hurricane & Storm Damage Claims Attorneys work to protect you after a devastating storm. We can help you hold your insurance company to its obligations to pay damages according to the terms of your insurance policy after violent winds and rain wreak havoc on your home or business.

You may have already had your claim denied and don’t know why. You may have tried to contact your insurance company and your adjuster won’t talk to you. The truth is, this is not uncommon. While your insurer may not talk to you now, with us fighting in your corner, you may find that they are now willing to discuss your claim.

If your insurance company has denied your claim or is significantly undervaluing your claim, we can help. Specifically, we can help with the following:

  • Bad faith insurance claims. When insurance companies refuse to pay on claims or will not pay the full amount regardless of policy provisions that obligate them to do so, the insurer is acting in bad faith. We will not hesitate to take insurance companies to court so that they live up to their contractual commitments.
  • Homeowner & business insurance claims. People buy property insurance for a reason. When floods, winds, fires, and other disasters damage a property that is covered under a valid insurance policy, you have the right to be compensated.
  • Hurricane & storm damage claims. Florida is prone to hurricanes, so we happily assist those who have experienced property damage from a hurricane or tropical storm recover what they are owed according to their insurance policies.

When insurers illegally take advantage of their policyholders by denying or undervaluing claims, we step in and make sure your rights are protected.

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A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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Fireworks are definitely dangerous, but they are not the only dangers to avoid this Fourth of July weekend. The roadways are especially hazardous during the summer holidays. When you are traveling to or from an Independence Day party this year, please remember to be on the look out for reckless drivers.

Here are a few dangers to try and avoid this Fourth of July:

  • Drunk drivers. Think about it, almost every Florida Independence Day celebration will have alcohol. Partygoers who are drinking at parties and such should not get behind the wheel of a car. If you see a car weaving or dodging in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you have a passenger with you, consider notifying authorities.
  • 4428561177_831c2f9269_zDrowsy Drivers. Many holiday drivers are travelling lengthy distances to get to their final destination. Those who have been driving for hours may be feeling fatigued. Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as drunk drivers, so stay alert.
  • Distracted Drivers. Keep in mind that many travelers on Florida roadways are from out of town and have never been to the area before. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to look at a navigation device can have devastating results. Avoid being a distracted driver by staying off your cell phone and having other passengers check your GPS or phone for you.
  • Speeding Drivers. People that are anxious to get where they are going may decide to speed or drive recklessly. Make sure you obey the posted speed limits and monitor your speed if there is heavy traffic.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last week about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first-ever National Tween Seat Belt Safety Advertising campaign. The campaign urges parents to “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up.”

The NHTSA is utilizing this campaign to show the importance of targeting this age group and their parents about seat belt safety. It is absolutely vital for tweens to use their seatbelts any time they are riding in cars because these are formative years that immediately precede driving privileges for teenagers.

Unrestrained Tween Facts: Did You Know?

  • Within the past five years, 1,552 children between the ages of 8 and 14 died in car, SUV or Van collisions.
  • Around half of those children killed were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
  • The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unbelted tends to increase with age. This more pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds, regardless of seating position.

2732924156_617c53d3df_zThe campaign targets the parents of children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Why? This is a very important time to instill the habit in children of always buckling up, for every trip. Tweens are just a few short years away from being in the driver’s seat, which makes this campaign all the more important.

Parents are encouraged to lead by example. No matter how short the trip, any time you get behind the wheel you should fasten your seatbelt before heading anywhere.

Tweens are constantly learning how to be responsible and make good decisions. It is up to the adult or adults in the car to make sure they are always buckled up. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are driving 2 miles or 2,000, tweens, children and adults need to be buckled up for every ride.

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A new report on bicycle fatalities due to car accidents on U.S. roads shows that the bulk of these fatal accidents occur in just a handful of states.

The report, released Monday by the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association, concluded that biking accident deaths rose 16 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2012, while motor vehicle accident fatalities increased by just 1 percent.

4920222422_e160c0f228_zAccording to 2012 figures, the top 10 states that saw the highest number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents are listed below:

  1. California – 123 bicyclist fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in 2012
  2. Florida – 120 bicyclist fatalities in 2012
  3. Texas – 56
  4. New York – 45
  5. Illinois – 29
  6. North Carolina – 27
  7. Michigan – 19
  8. Ohio AND Arizona – 18
  9. Georgia – 17

Moreover, the report also noted that more than half, or 54 percent, of U.S. bicycle fatalities over the period of 2010 to 2012 happened in just six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas.

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