A former Port Charlotte’s hip-hop shop owner Cleveland John Morris gets a run in with the law after a seventeen year-old girl accused him of raping her at a local hotel in 2003.
Monday Circuit Judge Michael McHugh sentenced him to 10 years in prison for having sex with a minor even though a six person jury found him not guilty of sexual battery, but convicted him of unlawful sexual activity.
“My heart is broken and destroyed over these allegations,” Morris told the judge. “My family is heartbroken … I know the difference between right and wrong, and I’d never do anything to jeopardize my freedom.”
Morris faced anywhere from six to 15 years in prison.
Morris’ sister Earla Morris stated to the court her brother was a churchgoing man who took care of his four children — three boys and one girl — and who looks forward to the birth of his fifth. “He is always there for anyone who needs him,” she testified. “What he was accused of, and found guilty of, is not my brother”, states Earla Morris.
The victim was not in the courtroom during the trial however, Assistant State Attorney Steven Schwarz read a statement from the victim.
“He took advantage of me,” Schwarz read. “I wasn’t eating or sleeping … I slit my wrist with a fork and they took me to a crazy hospital. I cried all the time.”
Morris’ family states that they will be contacting Oprah over the unjustice matter.