TAMPA (FOX 13) – On November 14 of last year, Michael and Kimbery Hoskinson’s world was turned upside down. They were paraded in an orange jail jumpsuit, charged with abusing their teenage daughter.
Michael Hoskinson resigned as principal of Coleman Middle School and Kimberly was no longer a teacher’s aide at Plant High School. Their careers, their reputations, their livelihood was in shambles.
But a lot can change in eight weeks.
Prominent attorney Rick Escobar slammed the Tampa Police Department investigation Monday. “This investigation was nothing short of terrible.”
In a stunning turn of events, the State Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against the Hoskinsons. It turns out the accuser made the whole thing up.
“If anyone here has been arrested and feels the devastation that one feels, especially when you’re innocent, it is a life-changing event,” continued Escobar.
Escobar says some good detective work would have revealed that right away, but, he claims, that didn’t happen here.
“There are many, many good detectives in TPD and the Sheriff’s Office that don’t rush to judgment,” said Escobar.
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Originally, investigators said Kimberly Hoskinson sent the alleged victim a text message: “Friendly reminder: If we ever find a similar text to the one you sent coach Stephen, you’ll end up with a lot more than a few bruised ribs.”
But Escobar says the accuser manipulated Kim’s phone and sent the phony text messages to herself.
“Any 10th grader would have been able to look at these forensic records on their cell and see there’s a problem here,” continued Escobar.
Dozens of teachers and educators were there to show their support, which never wavered, explained Sue Brown. “I have never believed in a million years that they could have ever done anything like this.”
Now that Michael and Kim have had their names cleared, they hope to get their jobs back and begin picking up the pieces of their lives and their reputations.
“For me, if we can prevent this from happening to another parent in Hillsborough County, I think that’s the greatest reward that anyone can get,” said Escobar.
Tampa police did release a statement saying the case was based on probable cause and protecting the victim. They said after a thorough investigation, new evidence surfaced, which resulted in the State Attorney dropping the charges.
Escobar believes others could have been behind the setup and if he finds evidence of that, he will take it to the State Attorney’s Office so those individuals can be prosecuted.
Escobar also thanked the State Attorney Andrew Warren for having open mind and his fairness in handling this case.