The State Attorney's Office recently dropped all charges filed against a Cape Coral man.
Ariel Insua, 41, of 142 S.E. 11th Terrace, was accused in February of forcing himself on two girls and asking for sexual acts, as well as exposing himself more than once. He was arrested by the Cape police and booked on eight charges. The state officially filed charges on five of the counts, dropping the rest.
On June 5, prosecutors dropped the remaining charges against Insua.
He faced one count each of battery touch or strike domestic violence, battery touch or strike, indecent exposure in public, sex offense unnatural and lascivious act, and disturbing peace breach of the peace.
"Neither victim showed up to court the day of the trial, and we needed the victims to be able to move forward," Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office, said.
She explained that one victim stopped participating almost immediately, would not return calls and could not be found, and that the second victim's story changed and was different than the first victim's.
"With all of that, we could not go forward with the case," Syoen said.
Assistant state attorney Natalie Rammuni handled the case.
Attorney Miguel Fernandez III represented Insua.
"I think the problem with these cases are they turn out to be tragic when the cases turn out not to be what we think they are," he said Thursday. "Not only does it hurt the people involved in this case, but it hurts other cases out there - this is the problem with false allegations being brought forward."
According to Fernandez, one victim had been thrown out of Insua's residence in December, and the other victim was in the process of being kicked out when the allegations were raised. One girl had a "history" of behavioral issues, included stealing, and the other had been prosecuted for grand theft.
"Their credibility was very much in doubt in the beginning," he said.
"The process was manipulated by these two teenage girls," Fernandez added. "The police did nothing to verify that the information that was coming out of their mouth was legitimate, was credible."
For example, the mother of one of the victims was not asked to provide a statement.
"If you're going to do an investigation, the investigation should be complete," he said, noting that the allegations against his client were serious and required a full and fair initial investigation by police.
"I just don't think that in this case that was done," Fernandez said.
He explained that his client was forced to live outside of the home for more than a month until the judge resolved a no contact order. Cooperation on the part of the Cape police in confirming that the victims were no longer living in the home, so his client could return, was also not easily provided.
"The Cape Coral police didn't really want to cooperate all that much," Fernandez said. "There was a delay of due process in getting him (Insua) back into the home."
As for his client, Fernandez said he and his family are trying to move forward.
"I think he's relieved that this whole ordeal is behind him," he said.
"I think it's very tragic for the family," Fernandez added.
According to police reports, one victim reportedly stated in February that Insua had tried to grope her and another girl in a sexual manner in November, despite being told to stop. Insua reportedly continued to "harass the girls and touch them against their will." He also asked one teen to perform a sexual act.
The victims also reportedly claimed that he kissed them by force and exposed himself to them.