Gainesville man, 37, arrested, accused of sex with 15-year-old girl


Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 11:06 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.

Police arrested a 37-year-old Gainesville man Monday night after they accused him of having sex with a 15-year-old girl and giving her marijuana.

Lawrence L. Coward
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Lawrence L. Coward

The girl told Gainesville Police Department officers that she met Lawrence Coward, 37, on Tagged, a social networking site, where she had listed her age as 19. On Sunday around 2 a.m., Coward drove to the girl’s home to pick her up, and she told him she was 15, not 19, an arrest report said.

Police said Coward then drove the girl to his home, where they had sex and he gave her marijuana before driving her back home. On Monday at 4 a.m., Coward drove the girl to his home again, and they had sex a second time, the report said.

After he was arrested, Coward said he had met the girl on Tagged but believed she was 20 years old. Coward was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a person ages 12 to 16 and one count of marijuana distribution to a minor, according to the report.

He was being held Tuesday at the Alachua County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

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