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Florida Man Convicted of Child Molestation, Sexual Assault in 1990s in Warwick

A screenshot of the RI Superior Court website.
A screenshot of the RI Superior Court website.

Warwick, RI – The Attorney General’s office reports a Florida man charged with child molestation and sexual assault in Warwick in the 1990s was found guilty Wednesday after a three-day trial before Superior Court Justice Brian P. Stern, the second trial of the case.

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced Thursday that John Cavanaugh, 64, of Spring Hill, Florida, was found guilty  by a jury of one count of first degree sexual assault and four counts of second degree child molestation.

The verdict was returned after two hours of deliberations after the trial before Superior Court Justice Brian P. Stern.  The trial, the second against Cavanaugh, was held after the first in September resulted in a hung jury, according to a release from Kilmartin’s office.

During the course of the trial, the State proved that Cavanaugh molested a girl known to him on several occasions in Warwick in the 1990s, when the victim was between the ages of nine and 15.  The victim reported the crime to the Warwick Police Department in 2013.

“A child victim of sexual assault or molestation may not be able to come forward at the time of their victimization to name their abuser, which is understandable given the physical and emotional trauma they experience. Despite the passage of time, some cases of child sexual abuse, where the victim has only recently disclosed, may still be successfully prosecuted.  The courage of this victim to come forward is commendable, as is the great work by police and prosecutors to follow through on the case and ultimately bring the abuser to justice,” Kilmartin wrote.

“There are resources available for victims, no matter if or when they choose to disclose the abuse.  Our office works closely with Day One, which provides treatment, intervention, education, and advocacy to help victims,” Kilmartin added.

Warwick Police Detective Shaun Turcotte led the investigation.  Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy Healy prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.

Cavanaugh has been held without bail since his arraignment on Feb. 21, 2014.

Day One maintains a 24-hour hotline for victims of sexual abuse and violence in immediate crisis at 1-800-494-8100.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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