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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 8/15/2014 

 Lakeland Couple Arrested for Aggravated Child Abuse 


On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Polk County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit detectives arrested 33-year-old Sean Pearson and his girlfriend, 21-year-old Jessica Rowland of Lazy Lake Drive East in Lakeland, and charged both with six counts Aggravated Child Abuse (F-1) and one count False Imprisonment (F-1) after investigation revealed they were abusing an 11-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl who were in their care. 

According to the affidavit, the investigation began when a PCSO deputy sheriff answered a call for service at the aforementioned address. The 12-year-old girl told the deputy that Sean and Jessica had locked her in a closet, shaved her head, and used other forms of “discipline” which left bruises on her. The investigation was turned over to the PCSO Special Victims Unit. 

Both Sean and Jessica agreed to be interviewed by detectives, and post-Miranda, both relayed the following to the detectives:

·         Sean and Jessica would cover the girl’s mouth with their hands when the girl screamed, because it “hurt their eardrums.”

·         Sean and Jessica gave the girl Sean’s prescription Depakote on several occasions, knowing that it was illegal to do so, to “calm her down” because she “gets out of control,” they would watch her because they knew she might pass out or stop breathing or have a rapid heartbeat from taking the adult prescription medication; if the girl refused to take the pills, the suspects would force them down her throat.

·         Sean learned about forms of child discipline from reading books and “the military.”

·         Sean disciplined both children by making them sit on a can of vegetables until their buttocks became numb.

·         Sean locked the children in the closet when they cried or became unruly.

·         Sean tied the girl’s wrists together and then tied the cloth to a beam above her head as a form of discipline.

·         Sean and Jessica encouraged the children to physically fight each other, and laughed at them or made fun of them when they refused. 

The children were also interviewed during the investigation. Both Pearson and Rowland have been booked into the Polk County Jail, where they are being held on no bond until a first appearance hearing this afternoon. Pearson has a prior arrest in 2005 for Sexual Battery by Suspect Over 18 on Victim Under 12 (charge downgraded to Child Abuse), and Child Abuse (direct-filed by SAO). He received probation. See his previous arrest information below. 

The children are now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. 

“The abuse of these children at the hands of these suspects is egregious,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “Hopefully intervention came early enough for these victims that through proper care, they will be able to recover from their physical, emotional, and mental wounds. These suspects have no business taking care of children.”


PEARSON, SEAN RYAN 2005-006418


No known AKA

Charge Number 1

Charge on arrest docket: SEX BATT BY 18YOA OLD SEX BATT VICT U/12
Bond Type:
Bond Number: Purge Number:
Purge/Bond Amount: 0.00 Surety: 0.00
Cash: 0.00 Bond Exp.: Disposition: PROBATION
Upgrade/Reduction: CHILD ABUSE

Charge Number 2

Charge on arrest docket: CHILD ABUSE DIRECT FILED
Bond Type:
Bond Number: Purge Number:
Purge/Bond Amount: 0.00 Surety: 0.00
Cash: 0.00 Bond Exp.: Disposition: PROBATION