Newport councilman defends his actions
NEWPORT, R.I. (WJAR) —
A member of Newport City Council pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of making an obscene telephone call to a teenager.
John Florez was arraigned in Newport District Court and released on personal recognizance.
Florez claims he was trying to protect his 13-year-old daughter from a boy who he said was sending aggressive and sexual messages.
"It was definitely abrasive," said Florez.
Florez told NBC 10 News that the vulgar messages to his daughter were found while checking her phone.
NBC 10 took a look at the messages allegedly sent on text and through social media.
One of the screen shots apparently sent from the boy tells Florez's daughter, "You're mine and mine only."
Another text reads, "I'll (expletive) choke you ... if call yourself ugly fat or any negative ... again."
Florez said he repeatedly asked the boy to leave his daughter alone, but he said the boy got verbally aggressive with him.
Meanwhile, the boy claims Florez told him in the phone call, among many things, "I'll find you," as well as, "I'll kill you," and, "Meet up with me and we can handle this like men."
Florez said Family Court granted him a restraining order against the boy, but then police went forward with the obscene call charge.
"What I did was what any father out there would do. And that is, protect your family and protect your underage daughter. That's it. That's really all I have to say. What I did today was what any other father here in this country would have done,” Florez told NBC 10.
He received a of applause Wednesday, which was his last day at City Hall.
"Thank you very much for everything you've done," he said.
Florez added that he never threatened the boy with harm. His next court appearance has been scheduled for Jan. 9.
Police are still investigating the case, but authorities said the attorney general's office does not want to pursue any charges against the boy at this time.