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.