Crime & Courts
Plant City man charged with lewd, lascivious battery on a minor
A 25-year-old Plant City man, who was a camp counselor and chorus director, is charged with having a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy in St. Petersburg. Joseph Gerald Mendolia, 601 N. Doty St., Apt. 7, is charged with three counts of lewd or lascivious battery following an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center and St. Petersburg police. He was arrested today in Plant City and is being held in the Pinellas County Jail on $60,000 bail. Investigators say Mendolia went to St. Petersburg in March and engaged in sexual activity with a minor child after posing as a female, "Amanda," on a web chat.Mendolia was a camp counselor with the University of South Florida music program and is the director of the Plant City Community Chorus, authorities said. Investigators think there might be other victims. Anyone who has children or knows of children who have been in contact with Mendolia is asked to call FDLE Special Agent Al Danna at (813) 878-7384 or St. Petersburg Detective Kenny Sharp at (727) 893-4297.