Florida

Sex on the beach: Grandma’s video key evidence in Bradenton trial

Elissa Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, sit on either side of their attorney, Ronald Kurpiers, as they try to choose a jury for the trial for two counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition each after multiple witnesses reported to law enforcement that the two had been having sex on Cortez Beach at 8:36 p.m. on July 20, 2014.
Elissa Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, sit on either side of their attorney, Ronald Kurpiers, as they try to choose a jury for the trial for two counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition each after multiple witnesses reported to law enforcement that the two had been having sex on Cortez Beach at 8:36 p.m. on July 20, 2014. Bradenton Herald

Two women testified Friday morning that they witnessed a couple having sex in public on Bradenton Beach when a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old were present. One of the women said she took video.

Elissa Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, were each charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition after multiple witnesses reported to law enforcement the two had been having sex on Cortez Beach at 8:36 p.m. July 20, 2014.

If convicted, they could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison; fined up to $10,000; and be forced to register as sex offenders.

The great-grandmother, Victoria Champ, and grandmother, April Champ, of the children who allegedly witnessed the act testified about the couple's behavior and actions that day. Their family was on vacation together at Bradenton Beach.

They said that they realized Alvarez and Caballero were having sex that Sunday afternoon when the then 3-year-old child started looking over at the couple, who were on a blanket nearby, and asked, "What are they doing?"

“I couldn't believe it,” April Champ said. “I was like, ‘What?’”

April Champ said the two were moving like they were having sex, but that she did not see either of their genitals or penetration.

“(The child) wanted me to explain what they were doing,” April Champ said. “I redirected her and we looked at seashells.”

Victoria Champ got out her cell phone and started recording the two, shooting a 25-second video that was shown in court. It showed the couple on a blanket on the beach during a bright day, with Alvarez moving on Caballero in a sexual manner.

They said that Emily Hall, April Champ's daughter, had been off making a sandwich when she came back down to see the couple's activities. Both Champs said they saw Hall go over to the couple to ask them to stop, but they didn't hear what was said.

“(Caballero) seemed angry based on his body language,” April Champ said.

The couple stopped after that, according to April Champ, and went in the water and took a nap together for a couple hours. Sometime in the early evening, April Champ says they started again.

“They were touching each other and kissing, so with that I just took the kids and walked to the pier,” Champ said.

Both Champs also said that Alvarez's top was removed at one point, though neither said they saw it happen.

Law enforcement was called, and April Champ said she saw Caballero laughing from the pier when police went up to them. When April Champ walked back, both of them were handcuffed and laughing.

Ronald Kurpiers, defense attorney for both Alvarez and Caballero, asked April Champ how she knew the two were having sex if she hadn't seen genitals or penetration.

“I knew based on the movement,” Champ said.

Kurpiers argued in his opening statements that in order for the jury to find the defendants guilty, they would have to know that penetration had occurred, and that none of the witnesses knew that for a fact.

“I submit that after watching the video today, you guys won't know what happened,” Kurpiers said.

Anthony Dafonseca, assistant state attorney, said at the very least a “sexual simulation,” had occurred.

“Witnesses said, ‘Hey, there are families here! There are children here!’” Dafonseca said. “But (the defendants) didn't stop there.”

The trial continues and is supposed to conclude Friday afternoon.

  Comments