Sam Andolina.

Sam Andolina.

Lee County Corrections

A Lee County man who pleaded guilty to molesting his fiancee’s autistic daughter in 2017 avoided prison Wednesday after a judge accepted his plea deal, court records show.

Sam Andolina, 40, who had spent nearly a year in jail, was released Thursday on the condition that he register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

Records show that Andolina pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation, which carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. In exchange, a charge of sexual assault by a custodian of a minor under 16 was dismissed.

Andolina had been in jail in Flagler County since September 2018 on accusations that he had engaged the 13-year-old in several sexual acts. He justified his actions by telling her that “he does this with her mother all the time,” the charging affidavit states.

The incident occurred at his fiancee’s house in Flagler County in December 2017. When she confronted Andolina, he gave her multiple excuses, including that he was drunk.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office officials began investigating Andolina in January 2018 after his fiancee filed a report. Interviews with the the 13-year-old, her sister, mother and even a neighbor whom Andolina had confided in eventually led to Andolina’s arrest.

As part of his deal, Andolina will be granted a one-time allowance to gather his belongings but must remain in Flagler County for the duration of his probation. He will also be allowed supervised visits with his two daughters, according to court documents.

C. Isaiah Smalls II is a reporter covering breaking and trending news for the Miami Herald. Previously, he worked for ESPN’s The Undefeated as part of their inaugural class of Rhoden Fellows. He is a graduate of both Columbia University and Morehouse College.

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