JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 37-year-old Jacksonville photographer accused of raping and impregnating a minor is facing sexual battery and molestation charges.
Edwin Armstrong pled not guilty to the charges in October.
As many community residents and former clients have expressed shock after learning about Armstrong’s allegations, some are questioning why an incident of this degree would be released and Armstrong is not behind bars.
News4JAX spoke to a criminal defense attorney who said that while the details of this report are horrific, it’s important to remember that Armstrong is innocent until proven guilty.
“Any report of this nature is tough to read, right? Makes your eyes bleed a lot of times, but there’s a lot of other information out there than just these initial arrest reports,” Lee Lockett said.
According to the arrest report, the teenage victim between 12 to 18 years old said Armstrong had been raping her twice a week since February.
On Sept. 30, the police report said Armstrong made multiple suicidal statements, then he was arrested, but didn’t stay in jail long.
Lockett said that’s standard practice though not everyone understands why.
News4JAX: He spent 18 days in jail after this arrest. What possibly happened here?
“They have to then abide by the conditions of release that are set. In these cases, those conditions are typically pretty strong. You can’t go anywhere near a school, you can’t have contact with minors, and lots of times they’re restricted to just work at home. So whatever the condition of release are, I’m sure they’re very stringent,” Lockett said.
The report also said Armstrong was investigated in 2018 for lewd and molestation.
News4JAX learned from that report that the victim was a child because they were transported to the University of Florida Child Protection Team to be interviewed and medically evaluated.
Armstrong was interviewed after that incident but not arrested.
Lockett said it’s not clear why there wasn’t an arrest at that time.
Jury selection for his trial is set for Jan. 23.