Hawthorne man on probation facing child sex charges

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

Booking photo of Jeremy Morabito

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. - The discovery of inappropriate text messages has resulted in a man being charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior involving a minor, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

The case against Jeremy Thomas Morabito, 20, of Hawthorne began back in June of last year when Morabito was 19.

According to an offense report obtained by News4Jax on Wednesday, a mother told investigators she was going through her daughter’s text messages when she came across inappropriate texts between Morabito and her daughter, who was only 13 at the time. 

During the course of their investigation, detectives said they learned Morabito had been having a sexual relationship with the girl. 

By July, the Department of Children and Families was called in to aid in the investigation. 

Authorities said the investigation revealed the child had first met Morabito at a friend’s home and the two kept in touch via social media after they met.

The report states that Morabito knew the victim was a child who attended middle school.

According to investigators, Morabito was already on felony probation on a charge of child abuse in Lake City when he got into a sexual relationship with the minor in Putnam County. 

The 2016 case involved a lewd and lascivious offense on a victim who was only 14 years old. Court records show the lewd and lascivious charge in that case was changed, under a plea deal, to a child abuse charge, which is why he was placed on probation. 

Part of Morabito’s probation required that he not have any unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 16. Nearly a year after he was placed on probation, his requirements were updated to include no internet without permission from his probation officer. 

Morabito remains in the Putnam County jail on $50,000 bond. 

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