Homeless sex offender charged with taking advantage of 21-year-old woman with developmental disabilities

Suspect being held in jail under total bond of $300,000

Frank Szakacs. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a homeless sex offender on charges of Sexual Assault and Kidnapping after he allegedly took advantage of a 21-year-old disabled woman with developmental disabilities associated with autism, the agency has announced.

Frank Erik Szakacs, 61, remains in the Sarasota County Jail under total bond of $300,000 on the two counts, the agency’s Corrections Division records say. His arraignment on both charges is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Additionally, on Jan. 13, the Sheriff’s Office charged Szakacs with Burglary with Assault or Battery. His arraignment on that count also is set for Feb. 18, the Corrections Division records note. No bail was assigned on that charge, the records show.

His last known address was 2895 Ashton Road in Sarasota, the probable cause affidavit in the sexual assault/kidnapping case points out.

The investigation is ongoing; additional charges are pending, a news release says.

The victim’s identity was withheld in the Sheriff’s Office report in accord with the state’s Marsy’s Law.

Details of the Jan. 11 incident

About 7 p.m. on Jan. 11, the affidavit says, a woman reported to the Sheriff’s Office that a sexual battery had just occurred involving her 21-year-old daughter, who had been diagnosed with autism and who is non-verbal and whose mental capacity is that of a 6- to 7-year-old child. The incident occurred at the Special Nutrition shop located at 1882 Stickney Point Road, in Southbridge Plaza, the affidavit notes.

The officer who conducted the interview with the mother and the daughter, at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, learned from the mother that she had taken her daughter with her to the health food store. The mother locked the front passenger door of her vehicle, the affidavit continues, and she lowered the windows a bit, since she planned to leave her daughter inside the vehicle because of the daughter’s negative response to having to wear a mask indoors, the affidavit points out. The daughter also “acts up around crowds of people,” the affidavit says.

The mother was inside the store for about 10 minutes, “visually checking on her daughter through the store window as she walked the aisles,” the affidavit adds.

When the mother was checking out of the store, the document continues, the clerk told the woman that her vehicle passenger door was open. When the mother looked outside, the affidavit says, she “noticed her daughter visually looking distraught,” so she immediately walked out to the vehicle. There, she told the officer, she observed Szakacs “physically on top of the victim,” with his and the daughter’s hands interlocked above the daughter’s shoulders, and he was “not letting go.”

In his arrest record, Szakacs is described as being 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds.

The red balloon marks the location of the store at 1882 Stickney Point Road in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps

The mother yelled at him to “[G]et off” her daughter as she tried to pull the victim out of the vehicle, the affidavit explains. However, Szakacs continued to hold down the victim in the front passenger seat, the affidavit adds. “Szakacs appeared to be highly intoxicated while at the same time becoming very defensive and confrontational to [the mother] during the altercation,” the document says. He asked the mother, “What is wrong with you, woman?” the affidavit points out, and he yelled at her that the victim “is a beautiful woman.”

Finally, after about 30 seconds, the document notes, the mother was able to pull her daughter out of the vehicle. At that point, the affidavit says, Szakacs also left the vehicle and began walking toward the Best Western hotel located at 6600 S. Tamiami Trail.

When the mother had her daughter safely out of the vehicle, she asked her daughter what had happened, the affidavit continues. The daughter responded with “Hurt, hurt, hurt,” the document says. Then the daughter used her mother’s hands to show her what Szakacs had done to her, the affidavit adds. The victim indicated that Szakacs had touched her genitalia and had moved his hands up her shirt to touch her chest, the affidavit says. At that point, the affidavit adds, the mother called 911.

Deputies were able to locate Szakacs in a wooded area near the parking lot, as a result of the mother’s description, the news release notes, and the mother was able to positively identify him.

The red balloon on this map marks the location of the Best Western hotel at 6600 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. This older aerial view also shows part of the Siesta Promenade mixed-use project site in the northwest quadrant of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road. Construction of the development has yet to begin. Image from Google Maps

A witness, who was described in the report as a friend of Szakacs, told a Sheriff’s Office sergeant that he and Szakacs were eating at Café Amalfi, located at 1880 Stickney Point Road, when the mother pulled up in the parking lot. The witness added that he assumed that Szakacs knew the victim, as Szakacs walked over the passenger side of the vehicle.

The witness added that he saw Szakacs “somehow [get] into the front passenger side of the victim’s vehicle” and subsequently heard the victim as Szakacs began assaulting her, the affidavit explains.

The officer who wrote the narrative in the affidavit points out that while he was conducting his interview with the daughter, “[I]t was very noticeable to me along with any reasonable person who spent [time] with the victim [that the victim] is mentally defective.”

Prior offenses

This is the area of Ashton Road where the last known residence of Frank Szakacs is located. Image from Google Maps

Szakacs has 10 prior arrests in Sarasota County on charges including Sex Offender Violation, Battery, and DUI, the Sheriff’s Office noted in its news release.

In 1996, in Cuyahoga, Ohio, he first was convicted of Gross Sexual Imposition, the release adds. He failed to meet sex offender registration requirements in 2019 in Sarasota and was sentenced to three years in prison, the release points out. He was released on Nov. 30, 2021 and registered as a transient living in Venice, the release says.

More recently, he was a transient living along Ashton Road in Sarasota, the release notes.

Among the earlier cases in which he was involved in Sarasota County, in October 2015, Szakacs was charged with Battery after a woman who was his roommate — who stressed to officers that she was not in a relationship with Szakacs — reported “a verbal dispute” during which she said Szakacs was “heavily intoxicated.”

He began arguing with her “for no reason,” she told officers, so she left their apartment to go for a walk. When she returned, she found that he had locked our out of the residence, and he refused to open the door, the report said.

As they were arguing through the door, the report continued, the woman said that Szakacs came out of the apartment “in anger and kicked her before throwing her down onto the ground.” She added that he “then let go of her hair and ran back inside the residence to hide.”

The woman immediately contacted her neighbor, the report said, asking the woman to call law enforcement officers for assistance. The woman told the responding officers that she was in fear of Szakacs.

When deputies finally were able to convince Szakacs to come out of the apartment, they asked him what had happened, the report said. He replied, “Nothing,” the report noted. He “was visibly intoxicated and kept saying that he wanted the Victim to move out of his residence,” the report continued.

The woman who reported the incident “suffered minor injuries consistent with being dragged on concrete,” the report noted. Those “included abrasions on both her right forearm and the back of her right thigh,” the report said. However, she did not need or request medical attention, it pointed out.

While he was being transported to the Sarasota County Jail, Szakacs “spontaneously uttered ‘she hit me,’” the report said. However, the officer who wrote the narrative added that his investigation determined that Szakacs was “the primary aggressor in this incident,” so Szakacs was placed under arrest on a Battery charge.

That incident occurred at 12008 S. Tamiami Trail, Unit A, in North Port, the report pointed out.

Szakacs ended up pleading “No Contest” and was found guilty. He was ordered to serve 90 days in jail, to have no contact with the victim, and to pay court costs, the court records show.

Szakacs has served several stints in prison, including one in 1987 on a robbery count and one in 2016 for his fourth, or subsequent, DUI conviction, the Sheriff’s Office news release says. Altogether, the release points out, Szakacs has 29 prior charges and four convictions.