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How could courthouse sex happen during business hours?

Jacksonville Sheriff and our crime and safety analyst weigh in

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – How could this happen during business hours?

That's the question many are asking after a video showing a woman performing a sexual act on a man inside the Duval County Courthouse during business hours has spread on social media and triggered an investigation. 

There are cameras everywhere in the courthouse. Officials inside won’t let News4Jax show them, but there are many on every floor.

The young woman who posted the courthouse sex video to try to find out why she did it, but no one came to the door. News4Jax is not showing any of the video or naming the woman who posted the video since she has not been charged with a crime.

Crime and safety analyst Gil Smith walked the fourth floor of the courthouse where this occurred. Our cameras are not allowed in that area. In fact, when we were shooting in a part of the courthouse where cameras are allowed, a bailiff told us to stop. That's something they did not do when the X-rated video was captured on a cell phone.

Smith pointed out parts of the hallway outside the courtrooms are not in security camera view.

"The biggest problem I noticed is the bench sits back about three feet," said Smith. "It's sort of like an indentation where you cannot see anybody sitting on that bench because of the design of the hallway."

The videotaped sex act occurred Tuesday morning on the fourth floor of the courthouse. The video clearly shows the sex act on a bench in the hallway outside Courtroom 401. There are about 32 cameras on each floor, but not many bailiffs to watch them, and sometimes they’re called away.

Officials said they need more security personnel to monitor those hallways.

"We are aware where the camera issues are," Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said "But where there is an issue, you have to have some type of coverage, whether that be a bailiff or roving patrol."

When first contacted Wednesday morning, the court administrator wasn't aware of the incident, but launched an investigation after seeing the video of what happened.

Chief Judge Mark Mahon said he was disgusted by the acts he saw in the video. All they know is that the two people were not employees of the courthouse.

Since no one witnessed the act in person, it may not be a crime, said Smith.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Integrity Unit, which looks into operations of court employees, is investigating.

The police report said the suspicious activity was observed by video surveillance.

According to the report, the activity consisted of a man and woman engaging in what appeared to be inappropriate behavior while the woman was at the courthouse for a 9 a.m. arraignment on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, smuggling contraband into jail and violation of probation.

Court records show she pleaded no contest.

 


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