Last week, on October 11, 2023, 33-year-old Travis Folsom, the defendant in a harrowing case involving sexual offenses against a minor, was sentenced to five concurrent life sentences.
The case, which began with Folsom’s arrest on July 5, 2022, sent shockwaves through the community. Folsom was charged with sexual battery on a 12-year-old by a person in a parental or custodial authority.
“This sentencing underscores the commitment of law enforcement and the legal system in ensuring the safety and protection of our community's most vulnerable members,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney.
Following the investigation, which included search warrants for Folsom's phone and extensive conversations with the victim, his charges included two counts of sexual battery on a minor aged 12-18 in a parental or custodial authority, two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and one count of child pornography possession.
The trial, which commenced on August 9, 2023, took a significant turn when Folsom pleaded guilty after the victim had almost completed their testimony. This decision was seen as a recognition of the strength of the evidence against him.
The victim's mother had confronted Folsom with the allegations before his arrest, to which he shockingly attempted to deflect blame, suggesting that the child had seduced him. However, the investigation, led by Detective Nick Norton of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, ultimately revealed compelling forensic evidence, including the identification of Folsom's semen on the victim's comforter.
In a disturbing turn of events, it was revealed during sentencing that just a day before his arrest and several hours prior, Folsom had conducted internet searches on topics such as "how long can you spend in jail for having sex with a 12-year-old" and "do child rapists get put into protective custody." He had also read an article titled "what happens to child molesters in prison," among other similarly incriminating searches.
The successful prosecution of this case was a result of the dedicated efforts of Detective Nick Norton with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and the relentless pursuit of justice by Assistant State Attorneys Kevin Davis and Tara Hartman, who tirelessly presented the case.