A 33-year-old woman in Florida has been accused of having sex with her friend’s 16-year-old son after a night of drinking. Online records show that Heather Bard was arrested on October 31 and charged with sexual assault by a 24-year-old or older and sexual battery on a victim as well as contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a minor. Bard was bailed out of prison on November 1 following an appearance in court where her bond had been set at $15,500.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Illicit Relationship Was Discovered When the Boy’s Father Discovered Facebook Messages
The Orlando Sentinel reports that it was the boy’s father who discovered Facebook messages between Bard and his son. The messages, which were on the boy’s tablet, discussed a night where the pair had drunk alcohol and apparently engaged in “sexual acts,” according to the Sentinel.
2. The Boy’s Mother Admitted the Pair Had Been ‘Touchy’
The boy’s mother told her ex-husband the she noticed the pair being “touchy” on the night in question and that she hadn’t gone to the police. The father decided to report the incident to the Casselberry Police Department on October 17.
WESH reports that authorities may look into charges of delinquency of a minor for the boy’s mother as she allegedly supplied the alcohol that the teen drank. The station adds that the mother apparently pleaded with the father not to go to the police as she is friends with Bard. While WFLA reports that Bard was met by a woman when she left prison, they hugged and left together.
3. Bard Is a Single Mother to 3 Children
In court, Bard’s public defender lawyer argued vigorously for the 33-year-old to be given an affordable bond so that she can prepare her defense. Her lawyer said that Bard was a single mother to three children and that she was in the process of getting divorced. WESH reports that in one message between Bard and the victim, she joked, “[I] wouldn’t look good in orange.”
4. Bard’s Lawyer Tried to Argue that the Teen Had Been ‘Sexually Aggressive’
WESH reports that the lawyer attempted to argue that the teen had been the one who was sexually aggressive. Though the judge pointed out that under Florida-law, minor’s cannot be deemed to be sexually aggressive in cases such as this.
5. Police Are Using This Case to Remind Parents to Stay Involved in their Children’s Online Business
Commander Michael Schaefer of the Casselberry Police Department told WESH that parents should be involved in their children’s online business. Cmdr Schaefer, “If the phone is locked, and the computer is locked, you need the password and need to be checking it.”
Tim Lordan of the Internet Education Foundation says, “Parents have to get involved. Just as they know every detail of the playground around the corner – the jungle gym, the swings – they need to know their kids’ online playground as well.”