When: Saturday December 5th

Where: Horseback Trail Rides, Camp Road, Cocoa

The stable is buzzing with excitement: “Patty Cakes” is nodding her head in anticipation and “Rocket Girl” is scraping the floor with her hoofs.

They know the kids are coming.

The third annual “Ride For The Kids” fundraiser is set for Saturday December 5th at 1020 Camp Road in Cocoa.  This year’s ride is a chance for local folks to enjoy a two-hour horse ride through the beautiful trails in North Cocoa, while helping to keep kids safe from sexual abuse.  All proceeds for the day are donated to Protect Our Children, the charity which publishes the Guardian-Brevard notification newspaper.

Kmat the Safety Dog will be on hand to provide security for the event and teach the kids how to stay safe.

Not a Rider?  Consider sponsoring a local child to ride in your place.  We always have a long list of deserving local kids who would otherwise not be able to ride.  Provide a healthy and fun-filled day for a local youth and help support Brevard’s child protection charity.

Contact Protect Our Children at 321-794-9323 to reserve your mount or sponsor a rider.  Use Paypal through this website: www.uspoc.org to donate your $40 dollars for the ride.  Please indicate whether you are riding or sponsoring and use the code word “Horsey”. Donor information is confidential.

Protect Our Children is a Brevard 501 (C) 3 charity.  All donations are tax deductible.

Folks who are riding should contact us at least two days prior to the ride, so we can get info on your height, weight and level of experience. This way the perfect horse can be saddled and ready for you.  Rides are at 9:AM and 11:AM.

For more information or to request a mailing contact POC at guardianbrevard@gmail.com.  See the Horse Ride page for more details.

Walmart Groper Found Guilty As Charged

Jehoshaphat "Joe" Mitchell, 45, was convicted of molesting two young girls shopping at the Walmart in Palm Bay.
Jehoshaphat “Joe” Mitchell, 47, was convicted of molesting two, young girls in July 2014, as they shopped at the Walmart in Palm Bay.



A Palm Bay man was found guilty of sexually touching two young girls as they shopped at a local Walmart store in July 2014.  A jury in Viera deliberated about one hour before finding Jehoshaphat “Joe” Mitchell, 47, guilty of three counts of Lewd & Lascivious Molestation.  It marks the sixth time Mitchell has been convicted of committing sex crimes in Brevard County.

The victims, aged 12 and 15, testified for the prosecution and identified Mitchell as the man who touched them inappropriately as he walked past in the aisle.  A security worker from Palm Bay Walmart took the stand as the jury viewed 17 security camera videos that showed Mitchell moving about the crowded store.  Along with their mothers, the teens later identified Mitchell from a photo line-up prepared by police.

Mitchell has a lengthy record of sex crimes dating back to his teen years.  In 1985 he was convicted of two, felony sex offenses committed as a juvenile. Nine years later, he carried out a cluster of three assaults within a four-month period:  In February 1994, he was arrested for touching the privates of a thirteen year-old girl as she shopped with her father in a Merritt Island supermarket.  Two months later he was arrested for touching a nine year-old girl at a Walmart store in Melbourne.  Three weeks after that, Mitchell was accused of breaking into an apartment in Palm Bay and assaulting an eleven year-old girl as she lay in her bed.

The victim in the 1994 Merritt Island case took the stand Monday, testifying for the prosecution under a special provision called the “Williams Rule.”  Used to establish a pattern of behavior in support of the charges, the rule allowed the woman, now 33, to describe her assault to the jury.  Mitchell’s method of operation was almost identical to the behavior described by his latest pair of victims.

Judge Charles J. Roberts set Mitchell’s sentencing for November 30th.  Volunteers with Protect Our Children were present for the trial, October 12th and 13th, at the Moore Justice Center in Viera.

Rockledge Man Avoids Prison For Assaulting Young Girl

Richard C. Vassallo, 77, will serve 999 years under supervision for molesting a ten year-old girl.

Richard C. Vassallo, 77, will serve 999 years under supervision for molesting a ten year-old girl.



A Rockledge man will spend the rest of his life on probation for sexually assaulting a ten year-old girl.  Richard C. Vassallo, 77, will serve 999 years on probation according to a sentence handed down by Judge John Earp, August 12, in Viera.

Vassallo was arrested in January 2012 for offenses he committed four years earlier.  The victim said Vassallo fondled her breasts on three occasions and touched her vagina once. Police said the assaults occurred in 2007 and 2008 at Vassallo’s home in Rockledge.  Sheriff’s investigators said Vassallo admitted to the allegations,  before he was charged with four counts of  Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Child Under 12.

Prosecutors agreed to drop three counts against Vassallo in exchange for his plea to a single charge. Vassallo could have been sentenced to prison for life on each count filed against him. He will be required to wear an electronic ankle monitor during the first two years of his sentence, and will be listed on the state sex offender registry for life.

According to state records,Vassallo served as Vice President of Cocoa-based, Adrick Marine Group for nine years. The company supplies air control systems for the maritime industry.

Molester: “I Can’t Go To Prison Because I Have Hemorrhoids”

Clifford Cannon Sr. will serve 51 months in prison for a sexual assault on a thirteen year-old girl.

Clifford Cannon Sr. will serve 51 months in prison for a sexual assault on a thirteen year-old girl.



Guardian Brevard


A man convicted of molesting a thirteen year-old girl will serve time in prison, despite asking the judge to set him free because he suffers from hemorrhoids.

Clifford Ray Cannon Sr. was sentenced to serve more than four years in prison for fondling a girl in his car, in the parking lot of a Palm Bay shopping center, in 2012.

The abuse was reported to police in May 2014 – nearly two years after the offense was committed. A therapist, who treated Cannon’s victim after a suicide attempt, notified authorities that the teen had disclosed the abuse.  The girl said Cannon fondled her breasts and buttocks in the back seat of his vehicle, after providing her with beer.

Sheriff’s investigators said the 77 year-old maintenance worker corroborated the child’s statement in an  interview prior to his arrest.  Nevertheless, Cannon entered a plea of “Not Guilty” and went to trial before a jury in May of this year.  He was found guilty of a single charge of Lewd & Lascivious Molestation.  Court records indicate Cannon rejected a plea offer extended by prosecutors prior to trial.

During the sentencing phase, on June 3rd, Cannon’s attorney asked Judge Jeffrey Mahl to depart from state guidelines which call for time in prison.  He told the court that Cannon should be excused from incarceration as he suffered from high blood pressure and hemorrhoids.  Cannon’s wife and son also took the stand and pled for leniency.

Judge Mahl denied the request and sentenced Cannon to serve fifty-one months in prison, followed by ten years of probation. Cannon, who will be age 82 when he is released, will be registered as a sex offender for life.  He will be required to wear an electronic ankle monitor during his post-incarceration supervision.

Court Monitors with Protect Our Children were on hand for the sentencing June 24th in Viera.