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Florida Man Accused Of Drugging, Raping Woman On Potentially Derelict Yacht

Darrell Piacenza has been charged sexual battery, sexual cyberharassment, simple battery, soliciting for prostitution and drug possession after a state agency began looking into derelict boats anchored outside of St. Petersburg.

By Megan Carpentier
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A Florida man whose yacht was apparently targeted in a state-led cleanup of derelict boats is now facing multiple felony charges.

Darrell Piacenza, 69, has been charged with sexual battery through the administration of an incapacitating substance, sexual cyberharassment, simple battery, soliciting for prostitution, possession of drugs without a prescription, two counts of possession of Lorazepam and possession of marijuana in a series of charges filed in February and March.

On Feb. 18, Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were patrolling near Madeira Beach, which is just west of St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Times reported. At the time, officers were participating in targeted operation to remove derelict vessels from area waterways as well as to enforce existing laws against people living on boats without navigational propulsion or toilets, the paper previously reported.

Piacenza had been issued a citation in November 2021 by the agency for having a large boat with berthing facilities but without a toilet, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com. He was issued two citations related to his boat in 2019: one in May for his boat being at risk of becoming derelict, in which the officer noted that the boat lacked a engine and Piacenza had been warned about it before; and one in September for his boat having no effective means of propulsion.

According to the February complaints reviewed by Oxygen.com, agency officials were conducting another vehicle safety inspection on Piacenza's boat around 10:00 p.m. when they discovered "glass pipes, scales with residue on them, and multiple pill bottles with no labels” and a “green leafy substance" in plain view. Piacenza, the arresting officers said, acknowledged knowing the substances were on his boat.

He was arrested and charged with the possession of two Lorazepam pills — a benzodiazepine that can be used for anesthesia, anxiety or insomnia that causes drowsiness — as well as one vial of Lorazepam, less than 20 grams of marijuana and dexamethasone sodium phosphate, a strong corticosteroid. He was released on $10,750 total bond on Feb. 20.

During the inspection in which the drugs were found, the Times reported, officers noted photos on the boat of Piacenza engaged in sexual acts with various women and he told officers that he "rehabs women" recovering from addiction.

On March 5, officers then responded to a call from a woman who said she had been sexually assaulted on Piacenza's boat, the Times reported.

According to court documents reviewed by the Times, the woman told officers that she'd been on board Piacenza's boat, had been given a pill and did not remember anything after that. Afterward, she told police, Piacenza sent her videos and pictures of him sexually assaulting her while she was tied up and "clearly unconscious."

The woman allegedly also showed officers other pictures and videos Piacenza had sent her of him with other women, as well as texts in which he offered her drugs and money in exchange for sex. 

Piacenza was arrested and charged with felony sexual battery through the administration of an incapacitating substance, misdemeanor sexual cyberharassment and misdemeanor soliciting for prostitution in the woman's case. He was released after posting a $51,000 bond.

Piacenza was also charged with misdemeanor simply battery in another, unrelated case on the same day: Another woman said that, around 2:30 p.m. on March 5, Piacenza grabbed her by the throat, choked her and then pushed her off a sailboat and onto another, smaller boat at the Madeira Beach anchorage — which is where his vessel is anchored. He was issued a $1,000 bond in that case as well.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials refused to comment on the case on Monday, citing an open investigation, but told the Times last week that they are investigating the possibility that there are other victims.

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