Prosecutor drops case against man accused of molesting 6-year-old girl

A 6-year-old girl told her dad, her mom, a counselor, a Department of Children and Families investigator and a Miami-Dade County detective that her friend's father had touched her vagina three times, authorities said. 

The little girl said they were in the pool and she was in her "floatie" when Josef "Jos" Opdeweegh touched her vagina, according to Miami-Dade County Detective Isabel Soto, who forensically interviewed the girl nearly a month after the incident. 

Lobbyst Ron Book, the girl's family attorney, said "clearly" there was inappropriate touching. Book's daughter Sen. Lauren Book founded Lauren's Kids, which raises awareness about childhood sexual abuse. 

Opdeweegh surrendered Aug. 14 and he was released on a $300,000 bond shortly after. Ben Kuehne was his defense attorney and Laura Guitar, of RBB Communications was his spokesperson. More than two months later, prosecutor Rachel Kipnis determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him with lewd and lascivious molestation, according to an Oct. 26 interoffice memo

Guitar said "a grave mistake" was made and Opdeweegh was innocent. Book said Kuehne's strategy was to discredit the girl's account. 

"Although there was limited evidence to prove these allegations, the child's disclosure was sufficiently credible for the police to determine there was probable cause to make an arrest," Kipnis wrote in the memo. But despite this, she added there was "insufficient evidence to prove the allegation beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt."

The case against Opdeweegh, who has nearly two decades of experience as a CEO, chairman and board member of global companies, was dropped. Prosecutors said the lack of physical evidence and witnesses prevents them from filing charges. 

"The victim's mother indicated that if the case had been filed, she would not have wanted her daughter to testify about this matter," Kipnis wrote in the memo. The victim's family was "concerned that the defendant and his wife would make life difficult for them and their children."

It all started at a pool birthday party May 31 at the JOYA Apartments near Dadeland Mall. Instead of socializing wih the adults who were out of the pool, Opdeweegh joined the children to play in the pool. The girl's mom was in the restroom. The dad was in a poolside cabana. A tree was covering the surveillance camera's view. 

About one hour after the party, the girl ran to her dad to complain about Opdeweegh, and she showed her mother how she remembered Opdeweegh touching her, according to Soto. The parents took their daughter to meet with a counselor.

They later decided to report the girl's complaint to the Department of Children and Families, and DCF reported the case to the Miami-Dade Police Department's special victims bureau. Soto met with the girl for a forensic interview June 21 and determined her "disclosure was sufficiently credible" and there was probable cause to make an arrest. 

Kipnis met the girl's parents, her grandfather and their attorney Sept. 20 to inform them that she would not be filing charges against Opdeweegh. After everything they had gone through, Kipnis said they were "understandably distraught." 

Local 10 News' Liane Morejon, Christian De La Rosa and Erica Racow contributed to this report. 


This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.