Citrus County, FL) Yesterday, March 15, 2021, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) officials arrested 28-year-old Bonita Carol Kelly of Beverly Hills for her involvement in a prior lewd and lascivious case.  Kelly was arrested for one count of Failure to Report Child Abuse, one count of Child Neglect, one count of Using a Child in a Sexual Performance, and one count of Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device.

“Kelly violated the trust of this child, trading the victim’s innocence for her own personal benefit,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast.  “The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is committed to working with our community partners at the Florida Department of Children and Families, the University of Florida’s Child Protection Team, and the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution to protect child victims. We hope this will bring closure for the victim and the proper services they deserve to begin their healing and make them feel safe again.”

Earlier this year on January 10, 2021, CCSO deputies were contacted in reference to a past sexual assault of a juvenile.  While speaking with deputies, the juvenile victim disclosed several separate occasions of inappropriate contact with an adult male, later identified as William (Charles) Hale Jr. Based on these allegations, Detective Richey with the CCSO’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) was assigned to the case and began an investigation.

Due to the victim’s age, the Child Protection Team at Jessie’s Place, the Citrus County Child Advocacy Center, interviewed the juvenile.  During this interview, the victim stated they had been coerced and threatened by Kelly into sending Hale explicit photographs.  In return, Hale allegedly provided the victim and Kelly with prescription medication, money, nicotine products, and electronics.  The victim told interviewers that Kelly also facilitated in-person meetings between the victim and Hale over the past few years, during which Hale had initiated sexual contact.

On February 18, 2021, Detective Richey interviewed Hale at the CCSO Emergency Operations Center.  During the interview, Hale made several admissions corroborating the victim’s statements.  Hale was arrested for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a victim under the age of 16, one count of Promotion of a Sexual Performance by a Child, and one count of Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device.

Detective Richey also conducted an interview with Kelly, where she confirmed the allegations made by the victim.  Detective Richey then worked closely with the Statewide Prosecutor out of the Attorney General’s Office to solidify criminal charges and have a warrant issued for Kelly’s arrest.  Kelly was arrested yesterday on the Citrus County warrant and is currently being held at the Citrus County Detention Facility without bond per the warrant.