FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida teen who stands accused of raping a woman behind a bus stop in Coconut Creek will not be returning to class anytime soon.
Nineteen-year-old Gibson Sylvain appeared in court on Tuesday, where he was denied bond and re-arrested on four more counts of sexual battery involving the same victim.
The ruling is a reversal of a pretrial appearance where Broward Circuit Court Judge William Haury Jr. ruled Sylvain could attend Monarch High School while out on house arrest.
Many parents became concerned for their children’s safety, and prosecutors argued that they should put Sylvain behind bars and that he is linked to the rape with DNA.
Parents at Monarch High are now relieved that Sylvain won’t be returning to school.
“I’m glad. It puts the ease on our minds as parents,” said parent Jason Picciolo.
“Was I nervous a little bit? Yeah, I was nervous a little bit,” said parent Stephane Carvalho.
When asked whether she feels better now, parent Melanie Vest replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
During Tuesday’s court appearance, prosecutors reiterated their request to lock up Sylvain. They also added the four other counts of sexual battery.
Speaking in court, a detective described the alleged October 2016 attack. “She said that she fell asleep at the bus stop around 2 or 2:30 in the morning, and she was awoken by a subject who stated to her, ‘I want you to suck my [expletive],'” said the detective.
The detective went on to say the victim, who is in her 40s and homeless, was not a willing participant.
“She described that the defendant had wrapped her in a bear hug and pulled her behind the bus stop to the ground, at which time he removed her pants,” the detective said.
Investigators said DNA taken from Sylvain matched DNA found on the victim’s sweater. They then said Sylvain later told a school security guard he thought the woman was a prostitute.
His defense attorney said whatever happened was consensual. “We’re not saying he wasn’t there,” he said. “We’re just saying that this wasn’t a rape.”
The teen’s mother stood by her son and said he was a good boy. “Yes, a good boy, all day. Never out. Always in the room,” she said while on the stand.
But prosecutors painted a very different picture of the 19-year-old. Parents at Monarch High said, regardless of whether he’s guilty or innocent, they are just happy he won’t be in school for the foreseeable future.
“It should have never been a situation. He should have never been here,” said Picciolo. “I know everyone’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but they could have done virtual reality school or something like that, just to keep everybody else’s minds at ease.”
Sylvain will appear in court at a future date regarding the additional charges. If he is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 75 years in prison.
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