CASE UPDATE: Jury Finds Palm Coast Man Guilty for Stalking, Soliciting Sex from Juvenile Victim

Gavel, books and handcuffs

A Palm Coast Man has been found guilty on all charges stemming from an arrest for stalking and soliciting sex from a juvenile.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, after a brief deliberation, the jury found Jerome Malerba guilty on all charges, which include soliciting a child for unlawful sexual activity using computer services or devices, aggravated stalking of a victim under 16 years of age and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Each of these convictions are third degree felonies and carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison for a possible maximum sentence of 15 years.

Malerba is scheduled for sentencing on February 21, 2024 by the Honorable Judge Perkins. He is currently being held at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility while awaiting this hearing.

“Our Major Case Unit and Digital Forensics teams did a phenomenal job tracking down every disgusting piece of evidence this sexual predator crafted in an effort to prey on a juvenile,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “Thanks to their efforts along with the prosecutor and jury conviction I hope he spends a long time in prison where he can’t prey on our children.”

 

Original story below:

 

In November 2022, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) was notified of inappropriate behavior occurring involving 46-year-old Jerome Malerba of Palm Coast and a juvenile victim. It was reported that Malerba had been contacting the victim for approximately two years. In July 2022, Malerba’s contact escalated into sending explicit messages and photos to the victim and aggressively demanding sexual favors.

In messages observed by law enforcement, Malerba acknowledged that the victim was a juvenile while continuing to demand sexual favors. In one of the more concerning messages, Malerba threatened to hurt the victim if his requests were not met. The victim requested Malerba to cease contacting her multiple times, to which he would not comply.

FCSO’s Major Case Unit was notified of the circumstances and began to investigate the case. On December 1st, 2022, Detectives obtained a warrant for the arrest of Malerba for Aggravated Stalking and Soliciting a Minor for Unlawful Sexual Conduct. Malerba was arrested and booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility and is currently being held on a total bond of $150,000.

“This juvenile has been harassed long enough by Malerba,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Thankfully it was reported to us, and our Major Case detectives were able to arrest him and stop his disgusting perverted behavior. No means no and if you persist you will go to the Green Roof Inn as this behavior will not be tolerated in our community against our children.”

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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