By: WCTV Eyewitness News
March 15, 2019
CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) – All charges have been dropped against a Crawfordville man who was arrested this week following accusations of child molestation.
The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says 72-year-old Robert Dewitt Grose has been released from jail.
The State Attorney's office says charges were dropped because the alleged crime occurred in the early 1970s, when there was no statute on the books for rape as it pertains to male victims.
Prosecutors say a man assaulting a boy would have been considered a second degree misdemeanor for a lewd and lascivious act, a charge for which the statute of limitations has expired.
Assistant state attorney Brian Miller says, though the charges must be dropped, the victim is credible and investigators believe him.
"The victim can't have the justice he deserves because the law failed him," said Miller.
Miller says throughout the investigation, it did not occur to the sheriff's office, the state attorney's office, the judge who signed the arrest warrant, or the judge who handled Grose's first appearance, that the law in 1971 did not cover the type of behavior alleged by the victim.
The man says Grose repeatedly molested him when he was around eight or nine years old.
He told investigators the alleged abuse had occurred while he was visiting relatives in Wakulla County during the summers of 1970 through 1972. The victim said it happened at Mr. Grose's home on Coleman Road.
The sheriff's office says during the investigation, detectives were contacted by another man who also reported being molested by Grose during the same general time frame.
When detectives asked the man if he thought there were more victims, the man said he believed there were probably many others who were too afraid to come forward.