Jacksonville Beach city attorney arrested, accused of molesting minor

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach City Attorney Chris Ambrosio has been arrested and accused of lewd and lascivious molestation of a minor, court records show.

Ambrosio, 48, was arrested by the Atlantic Beach Police Department and booked into Duval County jail early Wednesday morning. Court records show the alleged victim is between 12 and 16 years old.

Ambrosio appeared before a Jacksonville judge Wednesday afternoon. He told the judge he hadn’t had time to talk to a lawyer, so a public defender was appointed to represent him for now.

He was ordered held on a $120,000 bond on two charges, which included contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child. If he makes bond, he must wear a GPS monitor and is not to come within 750 feet of the alleged victim or their family.

According to a police report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Ambrosio has hung out with the alleged victim on several occasions.

In February, according to the report, Ambrosio and the alleged victim texted each other and Ambrosio invited them over for a sleepover. The two went to the gym, a pizza place and the grocery store last month before heading back to his Atlantic Beach apartment for a sleepover, according to the report.

The next morning the victim said they weren’t feeling well and went home, the report states. Later that day, someone went to Ambrosio’s home and asked what happened and later contacted Atlantic Beach Police. The alleged victim showed police texts from Ambrosio.

Around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Ambrosio went to the Atlantic Beach Police Station and provided a two-hour taped statement, which was redacted in the report.

Ambrosio told police he was the attorney for the City of Jacksonville Beach and that he knows lots of police, according to the report. He then continued to mention how he knows the police chiefs and works closely with them.

He was arrested after the interview.

The city administration and the Jacksonville Beach City Council sent out a statement saying they are aware of the arrest and saying the council will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday to talk about the arrest.

“While we cannot comment on the details of the case or investigation, we are working to ensure continuity of legal services for our city,” according to the statement.

Ambrosio was appointed a little over a year ago as City Attorney to all city departments, including Beaches Energy Services and the Jacksonville Beach Police Department and serves as general counsel to the City Council and boards.

Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman said the arrest was the first official notice of an investigation and Ambrosio has had no disciplinary actions on his record at the job. Records show he’s had no bar discipline history in the past 10 years.

“Very shocked and surprised,” Hoffman said. “Mr. Ambrosio has been with us for almost a year and a half now. Has performed very well by all accounts.”

A special council meeting will be held Thursday to look at the case and discuss options, Hoffman said, that could include a vote to dismiss or put him on administrative leave.

Ambrosio, a graduate of St. Thomas University School of Law, had a starting salary of $150,000 when he became the attorney in Oct. 2019 as well as vehicle and cell phone benefits.

His arraignment is set for April 14.

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