Franklin Rider MUG

Franklin Edward Rider

Franklin Rider will serve four simultaneous life sentences — one for each of the four young girls he molested over the course of several years.

Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard announced Rider’s punishment at the Inverness 59-year-old’s brief court hearing Thursday afternoon.

Rider was due to be sentenced following a one-day trial Dec. 11, when a jury convicted him as charged on four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12 years old.

Along with sentencing Rider to four concurrent life sentences for each of his felony charges, Howard ordered a 25-year, mandatory-minimum prison term.

Inverness man found guilty as charged in child-molestation case; faces life sentence

Howard also designated Rider a sexual predator for his abuses, which spanned from May 2008 until his arrest by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives April 8, 2019.

Assistant State Attorney Shannon Schlarf told Howard she contacted the four girls, who were either adopted by or related to Rider, to ask if they wanted to address the judge, but they wanted their testimonies from Rider’s trial to speak for themselves.

“They truly want to move on from this experience,” Schlarf said, recommending that Howard issue Rider life sentences, whether or not they’re concurrent or consecutive.

Rider said little during the sentencing, but wrote Howard a letter the judge then read to himself at the bench before sentencing Rider.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or

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