Tampa City Council chair Frank Reddick's attorney, Daniel J. Fernandez, released a statement on Thursday and said that his client has been wrongfully accused following statements from a woman who said that she was sexually battered by the chairman.
The comments by Tasha McCray came during Thursday’s council meeting. McCray, 50, said that the alleged incident occurred while she was in seventh grade at Tampa’s Wilson Junior High School (now Woodrow Wilson Middle School).
“I am here seeking verbal closure as a citizen and a victim of sexual battery from a former Hillsborough County school employee, now a city council member,” McCray said. “I have tried to get verbal closure without success, and I feel this is the only way I can get acknowledgement needed to move on with my life.”
McCray, who did not mention Reddick by name on the stand, went on to express the relief she felt after telling her mother about the incident, but added that she hopes she is not the only one to have found some semblance of peace in the wake of such an experience.
“If I am not, I hope that they can come out so that they can release the burden as I am trying to release myself by being here. I need to get my life back,” she said.
“I have been holding on to this for 38 years, and I have done everything in my power to make this person show ownership,” McCray told stunned city council members. “I’m a child of God, and I can’t forgive someone who hasn’t acknowledged the cruel, harsh and life-changing experience. I need that person to understand how that day, being 11 years old, or 12, changed my whole entire life or what could’ve been.”
The statement from Reddick’s attorney, according to WFTS, also says that the Tampa Police Department has investigated and closed the file without charges. A spokesperson for the TPD told CL that while the investigation is inactive, new information may lead investigators to look back into the matter.
McCray claims that 30 years ago, Reddick, who was born in 1955, gave her a note with an address on it. She told police that she snuck out of her house and went to the address where she says Reddick gave her an alcoholic drink and then forced her to perform a sex act.
A heavily redacted police report sent to CL shows notes from a police interview and a handwritten letter from the victim addressed to Reddick, which asks for closure and explains the aftermath of the incident. It also details the incident in question with great detail.
[Warning: The remainder of the story contains sensitive language, which may upset victims of sexual abuse.]
From the report:
The victim remembers taking a drink from the cocktail which was very strong. The victim did not like the taste because it was so strong. Reddick took the drink and added more cola to the drink. The victim remembers the cola was in a 2-liter bottle with a blue label, possibly RC Cola. The victim proceeded to drink the alcohol while talking to Reddick for several minutes. The victim can remember they stood up during the conversation. The victim began to get "woozy" from the alcohol.
The victim and Reddick then went into a room and the victim sat down on the couch. Reddick was wearing a robe or jacket, described by the victim as a "smoker's jacket." While the victim was sitting, Reddick opened his robe, exposing his penis. Reddick told the victim something like "come on, I want you to see something." The victim said Reddick's penis looked "funny" to her. The victim had no sexual experience at the time, so she believes it looked funny to her because it was uncircumcised. The victim said the penis to her looked like a "little worm" and it had an awful strong odor.
The interview comments echo parts of the handwritten letter in which McCray wrote, “I walked over to your house, and I remember walking in and you standing there with that small cocktail glass. I remember your smell. I remember what you Penis [sic] looks like. I remember it all now.”
“I need you to make to somehow make this right. I don’t know what it takes to make this right,” the letter adds, “but I need you to make it right.”
The police report also includes a December 13, 2017 email McCray sent to Reddick’s email address where she details her PTSD and attempts to remind Reddick about the handwritten letter.
“I’ve let you control my mental state for almost 40 years,” the email says. “We need to make this right. I wish to do it privately because I would not want to bring shame or guilt on my family as they were both in the school system for my [sic] years.”
“With all due respect to you, I personally do not know you,” a December 15, 2017 response from Reddick’s email address says. “I am also wondering what closure you are referring to?”
CL left a message with the office of City Councilman Guido Maniscalco, and a spokesperson for City Councilman Mike Suarez said he was in a meeting as well. A spokesman for Mayor Bob Buckhorn says that his office has received the police report. The mayor was in a meeting and unavailable for comment, but we will update this post with any new information.