He offered the boy money for yard work. He’s facing molestation and kidnapping charges.

Child sexual abuse statistics in the United States

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
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One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

A Lake Worth man has been accused of being the child molesting villain in a Saturday morning episode that sounds like every parental warning about strangers and their cars.

A 14-year-old told Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office detectives he got away from Osvaldo Vicente, a married 52-year-old, by bolting from Vicente’s truck when stopped for the light at the Delray Beach corner of Atlantic Avenue and Congress Avenue. That’s about 12 miles from where he said Vicente convinced him to split from his younger brother with an offer of quick money for cleaning up outside a house.

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Vicente’s been in Palm Beach County jail without bond since his Saturday arrest on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation, kidnapping and custodial interference. Aside from pleading guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia in 2017, his previous Palm Beach County and Broward County legal issues involved traffic.

The July 6 incident, as described by the 14-year-old, involved a black Ford, four-door older truck.

He and his 12-year-old brother were walking to a Lake Worth library branch on North M Street after 10 a.m. Their mother, who was with their sister nearby, granted their request for freedom to walk without her, reasoning the volume of people wrapped them in some security blanket.

But the 14-year-old said Vicente offered to pay him for help cutting grass and picking up trash at a house a block away.

This wasn’t the first time Vicente talked short term employment to the boys, the 14-year-old told PBSO detectives. Once, at a corner near his house, the boy called his mother and she rejected the idea because she didn’t know Vicente. Another time, the boy said, he and his brother turned down Vicente.

This time, however, the boy said OK and beckoned his brother to come along. But he said he sent his brother along to the library when Vicente said he could take only one.

Once they were in the truck, the 14-year-old said, Vicente headed for southbound Interstate 95. The boy asked what was up and Vicente said he needed to change clothes at his house.

But after some small talk, the boy said Vicente began reaching over to run a hand over the boy’s face, chest, thighs then into his pants. When the boy asked Vicente to stop, the man did but told him he was “cute” and soon resumed his manual molestation of the boy.

The boy told investigators he felt “uncomfortable” and Vicente opened his pants with a request for reciprocal treatment from the boy. Vicente told him no touching, no ride back home, the boy said. Feeling he had no choice, he said, the boy submitted to Vicente’s wishes.

“You’re going to be my personal friend,” he said Vicente told him, but he couldn’t tell anybody. If the boy did, Vicente said, he’d find the boy again and take him away from his family forever.

The boy told investigators he thought Vicente would rape him because of “his face and he was laughing at the same time.”

Brief, direct ways to talk with kids about what is private on their body, from the non-profit Darkness to Light that is committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse.

So, when Vicente stopped the truck at Atlantic and Congress, the boy jumped out and skedaddled to the nearby Chevron station. He saw Vicente pull into the Shell station across the street, then leave when the Chevron station clerk came out to look at him.

A 911 call to Delray Beach police and a call from Delray Beach cops to the boy’s mother got the family reunited. Each boy gave a detailed description of the outside of Vicente’s truck and the 14-year-old remembered details of the truck cab (“seats were “brown or beige” and “slippery” like leather”).

After viewing various surveillance videos from the Lake Worth area, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office found and arrested Vicente.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.