Documents reveal new details about man charged with child sex crimes

Why similar charges were lessened against Jonathon Crary in previous case

LAKE CITY, Fla. – The I-TEAM has obtained new information in a Columbia County case involving a Lake City man who's facing six counts of sex crimes against children.

Jonathon Crary, 34, is charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on minors.

The I-TEAM spoke with a woman who has close ties to both victims and their mother. 

The woman, who News4Jax has chosen not to name to protect the identities of the girls, said she'll never forget the day the two alleged victims told her they had been sexually assaulted.

"The moment they broke down and told me, I just cried and just kept telling them it wasn't their fault," she said. "It was more than once, probably less than 10. But they knew what his body part down there looked like."

She also confirmed what Crary's neighbors told News4Jax off-camera last month about the number of children going in and out of his house.

RELATED: Lake City man facing 6 counts of sex crimes against children

"There was a lot of kids, a lot of birthday parties going on. My son even went over there too, but I was present," the woman said.

At the time, the woman said, she had no idea Crary was previously convicted on multiple counts of sexual battery in Suwannee County, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The alleged victim in that case was a girl under the age of 12.

But according to court documents obtained by the I-TEAM, those charges were later changed to felony battery after the prosecutor in that case got in trouble for cutting a deal with a prisoner in exchange for his testimony against Crary. 

That prisoner was Crary's cellmate, who claimed that Crary confessed to the crimes. Court records show it was that prisoner's testimony that helped seal the conviction, but both the court and the defense were not aware of the agreement between Crary's cellmate and the prosecutor.

In the end, the prosecutor was suspended for misconduct by the Florida Bar Association and Crary was no longer a convicted sex offender. 

A Columbia County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said detectives believe they have a good case against Crary and would not have arrested him last month if they thought otherwise. 

He remains locked up on a $3.7 million bond. 

Meanwhile, the I-TEAM was told the victims are no longer living in Florida. 

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