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Investigator details case of Florida man who admitted to trying to rape girl
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Joseph Scott Pemberton enters Hall County Magistrate Court Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, for a committal hearing for a rape case. In May, Pemberton walked into the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and confessed, according to authorities. - photo by Scott Rogers

A 17-year-old girl hoped she would never have to talk about what happened with Joseph Scott Pemberton in 2008.

She told people that she still remembers the taste of cigarettes on his mouth and the smell of alcohol.

In May, Pemberton, 46, walked into the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and told investigators about how he had tried to rape the girl, according to testimony Wednesday, Aug. 31 in Magistrate Court.

Pemberton appeared Wednesday in court with defense attorney Kyle Denslow.

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Joseph Scott Pemberton enters Hall County Magistrate Court Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, for a committal hearing for a rape case. Pemberton walked into the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and confessed, according to authorities. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Michael Alford said he was assigned the case on May 5 after receiving information from Sarasota County.

Alford said Pemberton went into the sheriff’s office in Florida and requested a detective because he had molested a girl in Hall County in 2008.

During the interview, Pemberton described grabbing the girl and putting her on a couch.

“As she screamed, he was trying to place his penis in her vagina at 3 years old,” Alford said.

Pemberton also told law enforcement about a second incident at the Gainesville Walmart, Alford said. 

“He got in the backseat of the car while they were in the parking lot at the Gainesville Walmart and he stated that he tried to rape her again,” Alford said.

The girl’s screaming stopped him, Alford said.

After reviewing the report, Alford found the girl and spoke with people around her.

“She wanted to go her whole life without saying anything about it,” the investigator said.

The girl doesn’t like to be touched at all, whether it is a hug or a bump on the shoulder, Alford said.

Alford said Sarasota authorities are working on performing a forensic interview.

Denslow asked Alford if he noticed any peculiarities in Pemberton’s demeanor when he was being interviewed by Sarasota law enforcement.

Alford said Pemberton seemed straightfaced and calm during the interview. 

Denslow also asked the investigator about prior mental health treatment for Pemberton, but Alford said he was not familiar.

Pemberton was booked in to the Hall County Jail on a rape charge.

Alford said he had filed for a warrant for criminal attempt to commit rape, but told Magistrate Court Judge Brian Heck he was advised by another Magistrate Court judge to file it differently.

Heck bound the case over to Superior Court as criminal attempt to commit rape.

The Times reached out to Denslow following the hearing for comment, but that request was not returned.