State won't file charges against pharmacist
TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Tampa pharmacist accused of sexual battery is sharing his side of the story, days after the State Attorney's Office filed a letter of release saying they will not be filing criminal charges against him.
Robert Michael Woods is in the clear, legally. But the 27-year-old says the damage to his career and reputation has already been done. Now, he's working to clear his name and rebuild his life.
Woods had a pharmacy career on the rise and a new job at St. Joseph's Hospital. "I really liked helping people and I had a passion for chemistry," Woods said.
That all came to screeching halt last fall. "It's scary that that can happen in an instant," Woods said.
Woods connected with a woman on the dating app Tinder. October 5, they met at District Tavern in Tampa. They had drinks, went to his apartment and had a few more. The woman told police she woke up with no memory of giving consent for sex, twice, and claimed she found two injection sites on her neck.
Two days later, Tampa police arrested Woods for sexual battery. "They start breaking in and they say 'TPD, down on the ground,'" Woods recalled. "They have guns drawn and everything. My heart started racing. I just dropped to the floor. I thought it was a nightmare."
Woods spent a month in jail on $250,000 bond. He lost his job, his apartment, and his reputation. Without going into specifics, he says the allegations in the report are false and the messages sent between the two of them were taken out of context.
"Somebody can just say something and all of a sudden, you're marked as this person, this monster," Wood said.
But, six months later, the State Attorney's Office announced that, "After carefully reviewing facts and applying the applicable case law, the State Attorney's Office has elected not to file criminal charges at this time."
"We very much applaud the state attorney and the office in Tampa," said Laura Schinella, Woods' attorney. "They took their time and did a very thorough investigation and they reached the right decision. There are always two sides of the story and unfortunately, in October of last year, not a lot of people heard the other half."
FOX 13's legal expert, attorney Anthony Rickman, said it's not an uncommon scenario. He said that police make the initial arrest based on probable cause, victim and witness statements and physical evidence. After that, the state must conduct searches and interviews, and investigate things like DNA, phone records and texts. If there's not enough evidence to prove the case, there will likely be no charges.
"We had been waiting for this moment for so long," Woods said. "It's one of those moments where you're like finally, you've been waiting for this six months, you've been fighting everybody and everything, people have turned their back on you."
Woods is now focusing on rebuilding his life. While he isn't currently employed, he's doing volunteer work and hoping to eventually put his lab coat back on.
"I took an oath as a pharmacist in this profession back in 2015 and I've always held true to that oath," Woods said. "I will always always fulfill that oath. That's what drove me to do what I do."
Woods said he's considering writing a book about his case. As for the woman who made the accusations, police and prosecutors still classify her as a "victim" despite no charges being filed. Her name has not been released.