ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A former Orange County judge accused of molesting a girl will not be facing charges, according to a court memorandum.
The office of Daytona Beach State Attorney R.J. Larizza determined prosecutors could not prove the allegations “beyond a reasonable doubt,” adding that no further action is warranted in the case against Alan Apte.
Gov. Ron DeSantis originally reassigned the case via executive order after former Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala disqualified herself from the investigation, citing a conflict of interest as the former judge had been in her circuit at the time.
The allegations stemmed from conduct that reportedly happened in 2017, accusing the former judge of “poking” at the girl’s breast and patting her buttocks over clothing. Court records show these allegations were formally reported a year later from the alleged conduct. Due to the delay in reporting, investigators said they could not collect physical evidence, thus weakening the allegations, the memo states.
The memorandum, which also closes out the case, defines three elements that prosecutors had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to move forward with the case.
The elements include proving Apte touched the girl’s breast and buttocks in a lewd or lascivious manner, that the girl was under 16 years of age at the time of the offense and at least 12 years old, and that Apte was older than 18 during the reported conduct.
It was the first element that was difficult to prove due to conflicting stories from the girl, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
The girl told a forensic investigator Apte “poked” her breast and “patted her buttocks” in an inappropriate manner on multiple occasions, the memo said. In another interview with prosecutors, the girl denied Apte had touched her breasts.
Upon further investigation, the girl also told interviewers she reported the alleged molestation to a teacher and a guidance counselor. When interviewers went to cross-reference the story, the two denied the girl had accused Apte of abuse.
The State Attorney’s Office said the inconsistencies of the accusations, review of corroborating evidence and lack of evidence in lewd intent meant the “State cannot prove these allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.”