BY: ANDREW COLTON
Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Prosecutors preparing to try former WPTV Channel 5 weatherman Rob Lopicola for sexual misconduct on a minor and possessing child pornography may be preparing an explosive side show.
Records reviewed by BocaNewsNow.com reveal that prosecutors told the judge in the case that Lopicola committed additional crimes.
While the State Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for information, the docket entry confirms that prosecutors intend “to introduce evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts” that did not lead to charges against Lopicola. The docket entry, made on October 9th — a potential bombshell — is part of pre-trial maneuvering. It reveals prosecutorial intent, but does not guarantee that the judge in the case will permit prosecutors to discuss other allegations against Lopicola.
Lopicola’s jury trial starts Monday.
The language used in the docket entry suggests prosecutors could be calling additional “victims” under what’s known as the “Williams Rule,” a Florida statute that permits prosecutors to show evidence of another crime if it is related to the crime being prosecuted.
In sexual molestation cases, prosecutors have previously used the rule to call others who alleged abuse by the defendant.
Rob Lopicola, once a high-profile weathercaster on West Palm’s NBC affiliate, resigned abruptly in 2006 — an extremely rare move for on-air talent. It was later revealed in police reports and affidavits that Lopicola likely knew he was under investigation for sexual activity with young males at the time of his departure.
He later worked as a personal trainer and bartender — up until US Marshals took him into custody near his Wilton Manors apartment in July of 2012. He has remained in the Palm Beach County Jail, unable to post $130,000 bond, since his arrest.
Lopicola is charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious conduct, and computer pornography and child exploitation.
In addition to allegedly performing oral sex on a boy in Boca Raton, Lopicola is also accused of sending explicit text messages to a former area resident living — at the time — out of state. That led to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office working with the US Marshal’s service when Lopicola was taken into custody.
The text messages are extremely explicit and can be read here.