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Pair added to abuse case

Tony Holt Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:08 PM

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A judge said a 14-year-old boy could not return to the home where he was accused of committing sexual battery against two younger children.

On Tuesday, a man and a woman were charged with cruelty toward children following allegations they ignored the judge's order and allowed the juvenile suspect to resume living at the house.

Michael Bryan Lee Sr., 33, and Betsaida Maldonado, 36, were arrested after the Florida Department of Children and Families contacted the authorities, said sheriff's office spokeswoman Denise Moloney.

The ages of the younger children in the house are 9 and 6, deputies said.

Maldonado, who was charged with an additional count of contempt of court, told detectives she didn't want the teenager to leave the county and had nowhere else for him to go, according to an arrest affidavit.

The 14-year-old was arrested July 2 on two counts of sexual battery. Two weeks later, a judge signed a document prohibiting the suspect from living at the house.

Kristi Gray, a DCF spokeswoman, said her agency got involved only recently after someone called the hotline with a tip.

Field agents investigated and subsequently uncovered the court violation, according to reports.

"It's a very new case for us," Gray said.

Lee and Maldonado were booked at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday at the Hernando County Jail.

Lee's bail was set at $100 and Maldonado's was set at $5,500. Both are prohibited from contacting each other and the children.

Gray said on Wednesday she hadn't heard back from those in the field about whether the children were staying with a relative or placed into state custody.

Moloney said the teenage suspect also was arrested, but had no additional information. (352) 544-5283

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