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Sex offender lottery winner target of lawsuit

Timothy Poole won $3M on scratch-off ticket

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MOUNT DORA, Fla. – A convicted sex predator who became a lottery millionaire is now the target of a lawsuit. The civil suit was filed in the Orange County Courthouse Monday afternoon by a high-profile law firm representing the sexual battery victims.

Timothy Dale Poole won $3 million on a Florida Lottery scratch-off ticket he purchased at a Mount Dora 7-Eleven store on Dec. 6. In 1999, Orange County authorities arrested Poole following allegations that he sexually battered a 9-year-old boy. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2002.

The suit filed Monday lists two sexually battery victims -- a 9-year-old and a 5-year-old who were close family friends of Poole. The victims also spent some weekends at Poole's home, according to investigators.

"He said Tim would sleep in the same bed as him at his house" and perform a sex act on the child, the detective wrote in the affidavit.  "He said sometimes Tim would wake him up from sleeping to (perform a sex act)."

As part of a plea bargain, Poole pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery and was sentenced to the 13 months he had already served in jail. The judge also ordered Poole to serve 10 years of sex offender probation and register as a sexual predator.

On Dec. 22, just weeks after Poole won millions in the scratch-off ticket, the complaint was filed asking for damages. Lottery officials said he chose to receive his winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment of $2,219,807.90.

The victims are being represented by Jason Recksiedler, an attorney with NeJame Law.

Recksiedler lists physical and emotional scars for the victims -- damages that include suffering from physical pain, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and severe depression. The complaint then says, "treatment will continue throughout the rest of their lives."

Legal analyst Eric Dubois said the complaint has grounds to move forward and the statute of limitations has not run out.

"Twenty years ago, why would you ever pursue it? Because odds are he's never going to have any money. So he hits the lottery (and) wins $3 million," Dubois said. "They figure, we can finally recover and help compensate us for some of the emotional and mental abuse."

Just as quickly as the Mount Dora Man won the money, it could be spent, which is why the victims' attorney also filed an emergency motion to freeze his assets.

"If they don't freeze it now, he's going to spend it. He's already fled the state once when he was arrested in New York. He's a flight risk. He has $3 million. Essentially, he can buy his ticket to any place in the world," said Dubois.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sex Offender Registry has a new address for Poole out of West Virginia as of Dec. 12.

Dubois said Poole will most likely have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.