Historic City News has learned that George Robert Lightkep, Jr. was convicted by a St Johns County jury today on two charges that he committed sexual battery on a person less than 12 years-old; the jury required only 12 minutes of deliberation.
State Attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit, RJ Larizza, told reporters that the 66 year-old man, who used to live in Hastings and moved to Salt Springs in Marion County, committed multiple acts of sexual battery and molestation against his victim between the years 1990 and 1995.
For the past two days, prosecutor and Assistant State Attorney, Chris France, appeared before Circuit Judge Wendy Berger, presenting shocking evidence and testimony that convinced the jury that Lightkep persisted frequently in a variety of sexual crimes against the child victim over a period of several years; beginning from the time she was 5 or 6 years-old.
For about an 8-year period, from the time the victim was 8 years-old, Lightkep and his wife were members of a biking organization that would go on camping trips also attended by the victim.
Evidence presented at trial asserted that when Lightkep’s wife would leave the camper, he would pull the victim into the bathroom and molest her sexually — touching her, beneath her clothes, on her breasts and vagina. It was alleged that Lightkep would touch her sexual organs when they would swim together in the pool and that he would penetrate the victim with his fingers. The molestation also included oral penetration of the victim and masturbation.
In a monitored telephone call to Lightkep, he can be heard to say that he “never intentionally hurt her,” and, when asked for an apology for what he did to her, Lightkep says that he is sorry. Lightkep does not deny oral sex allegations made in the telephone call, he mumbles “uh huh”. The victim disclosed that she had been contacted by detectives but that she would “ignore them”; to which Lightkep replied, “You don’t know how much I would appreciate that”. Later in the call, Lightkep responds to the victim’s indication that she was not going to tell authorities what happened; and, instead, “play stupid”. He can be heard to say, “My wish is that you would continue to do that” and “That would be a big help to me, I’m sure”.
The criminal in this case is facing life in prison when he is sentenced on May 15th at 9:00 a.m., a State Attorney spokesman told Historic City News.