56k | High-Speed - Watch more of Jackelyn Barnard's interview with Tiffany
By Jackelyn Barnard
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- She sits on the sofa, in her sister's home, just smiling and giggling.
It's clear she is a young teenager but behind the smile, is a troubled teen.
Normally at First Coast News, our policy is not to identify young victims of sex crimes, but Tiffany Gomez wanted to talk. She wanted to share her story and maybe help someone else.
Tiffany says it all started last summer. She was just looking for a father figure. She says she found one in her neighbor, 46-year-old Eric Longstreth.
She says, she started to go over to his house everyday. The relationship then turned into something else. It's something she says she doesn't regret right now but knows she will in the future.
"Age is just a number. It just matters how much you love a person," said Tiffany.
At 14, Tiffany says she is not in love but she does have feelings for Longstreth.
"I miss him. I miss him a whole lot. I know it looks bad but I do miss him a lot."
She says she ran away with him last November, for three months, because she was afraid of being punished for skipping school.
Police say it was during that time, Longstreth used her in a prostitution ring.
When asked, did he ever tell you that he loved you? She responded, "Yeah." Do you think Eric used you? "In a way, not really." But in a way you do? "No, not really."
At times during our two hour interview, it was clear Tiffany was nervous. She would ask us to skip questions. Three times she asked us if she could stop and go have a cigarette.
Each time she would come back from her break ready to answer another question.
Were you ever romantic with him? Intimate? "No, not at the house." But outside of the house? "After I ran away that's when the romantic started happening." Did you want it to happen? "In a way, not really, but in a way I guess."
There were several times Tiffany would go back and forth over what she says she wanted.
Her mother says there is a good reason for that. Beverly Todd believes her daughter is not telling the whole story in order to protect Longstreth. "She doesn't want to see him go to prison."
Tiffany says during the three months she ran away from home, she and Longstreth traveled across Florida. They went to New Orleans, to Texas and then back to Florida. She says they settled in Kissimmee.
Tiffany says she knew about Longstreth's escort service.
"He made business cards for me to be funny." What was on the card? "My little phone number. My own cell number and a picture of me with the Hummer," said Tiffany.
According to Tiffany, the Hummer is the car they traveled in.
While in Kissimmee she says she met a man by the name of Bryan Perry. "Perry took pictures of me. It's kinda scary saying his name. He wanted to do it for fun for the camera. He wanted to take them. He did not force me or anything. I didn't want to start an argument because he (Perry) was drunk. It was lingerie." How many outfits were you in? "Four. (He) told me how to pose."
Things did not stop with the pictures. Tiffany admits she had sex a number of times with Longstreth. She says she wanted to do it.
Her mother says that's not true and Tiffany is still protecting Longstreth.
After three months on the run, police caught up with Perry and Longstreth at a hotel in Kissimmee.
It was a sting. Tiffany says the call was for a bachelor party. Tiffany says she was in the hotel room dancing for the undercover cops.
Again, she says Longstreth never forced her. She said she wanted to do it because she knew they needed the money.
"He didn't make me do it. It was what I wanted to do not what he wanted me to do." And that was to do what? "Dance for the first time." All you did was dance? "Yes." No sex? "No."
Tiffany says that was the first and last time she did or will do anything like that.
Police arrested Perry and Longstreth.
Her mother says even though she has her daughter back she has one fear. "My biggest fear is he doesn't go to jail and gets out. It's like it's gonna start all over again."
Tiffany's mother believes her daughter has been brainwashed. Todd is now trying to put the pieces of her family back together again.
Tiffany says she has no regrets when asked if she's missed out on her childhood innocence. She simply replied, "No."
First Coast News