SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A former candidate for Seminole County judge was sentenced to house arrest and probation as part of a plea deal to lesser charges for having sex for a teenage girl who worked on his campaign, court documents show.
Andrew Jones was initially arrested and charged with unlawful sexual activity with a 17-year-old in September 2019. He was represented by attorney Mark O’Mara.
Under a plea deal with the state Jones was not sentenced to any sexual offenses. The 42-year-old entered a guilty plea to child abuse, a third-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, also a third-degree felony.
According to the arrest report, the victim had been helping with then 40-year-old Jones’ judicial campaign.
The victim was at Jones’ Longwood home working on the campaign when “one thing led to another” and the two engaged in sexual intercourse, according to the report. Jones was also recorded on surveillance video at a CVS in Longwood buying an emergency contraceptive pill.
On Thursday, a judge sentenced Jones to 2 years house arrest and 8 years probation. He must obey by a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and can only leave the home for work. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim and must pay for her ongoing counseling services.
As part of the plea Jones admitted he had sex with a 17-year-old and then attempted to cover it up. He washed the sheets, deleted the Ring security video from two cameras that captured the victim in the home and bought the teen the “after morning” pill. He said he also only communicated with the victim via Snapchat “which was deleteable.”
Even though Jones was not convicted on sex offender-related charges the conditions of his probation include many of the sex offender conditions as part of the plea agreement. Under those conditions, Jones is prevented from living within 1,000 feet of a school where children attend, he must complete a sex offender treatment program, cannot have unsupervised contact with a child under 18, which does not include his own two children.
The victim provided an impact statement during the sentencing hearing.
The now adult woman told the judge she is having trouble moving forward with this in her past.
“The nightmares that I still have about that night keep me awake every single night,” she said, adding she remembers “every detail of the excruciating pain that that man caused me.”
“While his life may eventually go back to some semblance of normal mine never will, I can no longer pursue the career that I intended to because his hands were too involved with it,” she said, adding she was going to pursue a criminal justice degree.
She said it was too hard to have to take classes where she learned about similar crimes.
Records from the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Office showed Jones was running for Group 6 county judge and withdrew from the race shortly after his charges.