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Man charged with child molestation after traveling from Lakeland to North Port to meet victim

John Stanford Jr.
Posted at 3:38 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 15:38:43-04

NORTH PORT, Fla. — A Lakeland man is being charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child, among other charges, after he traveled to North Port to meet with a 14-year-old girl twice.

Investigators say 25-year-old John Stanford Jr. met the victim on Snapchat sometime between September 2021 and January 2022. He sent her a total of $115 on CashApp and bought her gifts, including clothes and a vape pen.

On January 22 and again on March 5, Stanford drove from Lakeland to North Port to meet up with the victim, where he molested her.

On May 12 the victim’s mother noticed several missed calls on her daughter’s cellphone. When asked about the calls, the victim confessed to her mother and reported the incident to the North Port Police Department.

Police collected the victim’s cellphone as evidence. Text messages between Stanford and the victim had been deleted, but investigators did find sexually explicit images and a screenshot of the victim’s CashApp account. It was also discovered that the suspect had been sending money to other girls in exchange for sexually explicit pictures, but had not met up with them.

Stanford is being charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor, including battery and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child 12 to 16 years old.