A judge sentenced Roy Blotz to four years in state prison for sending obscene text messages to a teenage girl he later molested at a time she believed he was there for her.
Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard ordered the Inverness 54-year-old to serve 48 months of incarceration, followed by two years of probation with sex-offender conditions.
Blotz must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and have no contact with the girl's family, the judge ordered.
As Howard’s bailiffs led him out of the courtroom, Blotz, who had been released from custody on bond, glanced at the girl’s family and then his own.
Former Assistant State Attorney Julia Metts held the girl, now 14, in her arms as they watched Blotz’s sentencing from the courtroom’s gallery.
Metts told Howard at the hearing’s start she prosecuted a man who was charged with the murder of the girl’s mother. Details of the case are being withheld to protect the girl’s identity.
“And this gentleman was a pallbearer for her mother,” Metts said, gesturing to Blotz, who was sitting with his attorney, Jeremy Smith, in front of his own supporters.
“He’d always reassured me and told me how much I meant to him,” the girl testified about Blotz, who had been a friend of her family for roughly 30 years. “I loved him so much, and I’ll never be able to explain it ... I have to stop letting it engulf me and ruin my life ... it’s the only way I can find true happiness and love.”
Because of Blotz’ nonexistent criminal history, Howard agreed during a Dec. 2 hearing to limit punishment to between 42 and 50 months.
In exchange for the judge’s offer, Blotz pleaded no contest to his charges of using a computer to solicit sexual conduct from a child and lewd and lascivious molestation, offenses that could have pitted Blotz against a 20-year sentence if there was a conviction at trial.
Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested and charged Blotz June 10 after investigating an online tip that eventually led to the discovery of illicit online and cellphone text messages Blotz sent to the girl from February to June.
Blotz also molested the girl in May, sheriff’s-office investigations revealed. Blotz later admitted to the offenses after detectives confronted him with his digital conversations.
Assistant State Attorney Debra Munchel read aloud to Howard several excerpts of Blotz’ messages. Metts covered the girl’s ears until the prosecutor was finished.
“My heart tricked me into thinking I was repaying the love he gave me,” the girl said to Howard about Blotz being there after her mom's death.
Blotz apologized to the girl, and told Howard he plans to work to improve the lives of inmates.
“I was in a position to be a positive role model, like I have for so many others in my life, and I was very negative, and I take full responsibility,” the former volunteer firefighter said. “When I look in the mirror, I’m not the person I see, and that person needs to change.”
Blotz’ relatives told Howard they were upset over what he did, but reassured the judge that’s not the same person Blotz, a father and recent grandfather, has been for their family, his company of 30-plus years and sports leagues he used to coach.
“I was both distraught and surprised to hear what my father had done ... the man who committed this offense is not the father that I know,” Blotz’ eldest son, Geoffrey Blotz, said. “I truly believe my father has learned his lesson.”
“... My father’s been right by my side in everything I’ve ever done,” youngest son Travis Blotz added.
Smith asked Howard to sentence Blotz to less than 42 months, arguing his client has shown deep remorse.
“This is not normal behavior for Mr. Blotz,” the lawyer said.
"It’s like I’m dealing with two different men," Howard said before sentencing Blotz.