New details emerge about the troubled final days of Ron DeSantis confidant Kent Stermon

KentStermon
Nearly a year after his suicide, some lurid details have finally been confirmed.

Nearly a year after the December suicide of Kent Stermon, Northeast Florida officials are offering real insight into the events leading up to the shocking incident in which a man once named “Citizen of the Year” by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office took his own life amid controversy that got global attention.

Stermon, a 50-year-old man who was connected to Jacksonville-area Republicans and who played a major role in the political ascent of Ron DeSantis to the Governorship, was under confirmed investigation from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (which started in November 2022) when he took his own life at the Mayport Post Office last year.

Rumors swirled for months, though it ultimately took until the end of September to align all the facts.

Per a report from the office of State Attorney Melissa Nelson, Stermon engaged in a scheme to seduce a young woman, enticing her with the promise of backstage passes for a Taylor Swift ERAS Tour concert to “show her breasts to him,” to “perform certain acts for money,” and to “send him photos of her breasts through a bizarre and fraudulent scheme, even using a fake email account” in which he pretended to be a security staffer for the concert tour.

“Stermon also continued to communicate with (the victim) from his personal cellphone through both text messages and telephone calls. Stermon instructed (her) to buy the concert tickets and told her he would reimburse her. After (she) purchased the tickets herself, Stermon told her to come to his office to collect the money for the tickets — it was here where Stermon solicited (the victim) and refused to allow her to leave until she complied with his demand that she show her breasts to him,” the report reads.

Stermon claimed he “could facilitate backstage access and a meet-and-greet for the victim to meet Taylor Swift. In order to obtain backstage access, Stermon explained that she would need to communicate directly with the ‘backstage coordinators'” for the Tampa tour stop. The victim sent the email, claiming her “uncle” was the contact with the purported tour.

From there, the request became more lurid. The purported backstage coordinators wanted revealing pictures and wanted the victim to answer questions about her “sexual orientation and degree of promiscuity” and to send revealing pictures. Stermon then directed the victim to visit his former office for money for the tickets. When she showed up, he gave her $1,500 and offered her more money, including $10,000 for a “lap dance” and $5,000 for “Facetime sex.”

The victim refused those solicitations, but was pressured into going topless and showing Stermon her bare breasts for 30 seconds, which she was compelled to time on her smartphone’s stopwatch function. She then was compelled to hug him goodbye.

“I just wanted to get out of there. I was very frightened because he’s a bigger guy, and I am a small woman. I was unsure of what might happen,” the victim stated in the report.

Despite the elaborate nature of the scheme, Nelson’s Office could find no evidence that there were other episodes where Stermon tried similar gambits with other victims. However, the report found grounds for charges of “Solicitation for Prostitution, False Imprisonment, Theft by False Pretenses, Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device, and Obtaining by Trick, False Representation, Etc.”

Stermon, who was 50 years old, had been dealing with serious health issues before his death. Stermon told Florida Politics just hours before he was found dead that he had suffered a stroke days before but was upbeat.

“I am stepping about as far from politics as I can right now,” Stermon texted, in what would be some of his last words to anyone. “My prognosis is positive and I just got discharged from (the) hospital but I have a ton of work to do to get healthy.”

In a sign of how close he was to DeSantis, Stermon served as a Board of Governors member of Florida’s State University System, on the Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Council, and was Chair of the Governor’s Public Safety Transition Advisory Committee. The Board of Governors called him a “champion of higher education and student success in Florida” when he passed away.

Stermon had a unique role in regional politics, making connections — particularly for DeSantis’ once-unlikely path to the 2018 Republican nomination for Governor.

He also more recently was part of the process of filling the vacancy left when former Sheriff Mike Williams, another close friend of Stermon’s, resigned months before his death, including having advance knowledge of the Governor’s appointment of interim Sheriff Pat Ivey and the Governor’s political support of current Sheriff T.K. Waters.

“I’ve spoken with a lot of folks in the Sheriff’s Office and outside,” DeSantis said, setting up the decision last summer.

Stermon, who rented a home to DeSantis while he was in Congress, helped build a bridge to the Northeast Florida establishment in both fundraising and endorsements.

When endorsements were slow going for DeSantis, Northeast Florida pols were pivotal in changing the trend around the time of a DeSantis-Adam Putnam debate in Jacksonville, with Stermon driving momentum. Ahead of that debate, former Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings issued a joint endorsement of DeSantis.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry also counted Stermon as a friend and ally, and they collaborated politically in recent years, including hosting an early fundraiser in Jacksonville for former Senate candidate Herschel Walker of Georgia.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


18 comments

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    September 29, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    Lot’s suspicious deaths have happened within DeSantis’ orbit.

    I’m not saying, i’m just saying.

  • Julia

    September 29, 2023 at 2:46 pm

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  • PeterH

    September 29, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Fun Fact:
    Most groomers are heterosexual and many like Kent Stermon live right here in Florida! This particular groomer was a DeSantis supporter and Republican.

    • My Take

      September 29, 2023 at 3:28 pm

      Shorty D just chooses, and rechooses, the very best.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 29, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    most people are judged by the company they keep. it’s not always fair, but true. i run with only woke democrats. none of my friends are perverts.. now desantis, well he runs with maga maggots.

    • Jackie Perez

      October 2, 2023 at 10:37 am

      Why we you call other people pukes ? We are Americans first and should be more upset about what all of them (dem or rep) are doing to our country .

      • Rick Whitaker

        October 2, 2023 at 5:54 pm

        it’s the maga people i worry about. thay are the ones that killed police officers when they tried to overturn the election. what factual thing worries you about the dems? i don’t call people pukes, i call certain people punks. i don’t know what a puke is, tell me. i do know what a punk is. when you put dems and gop in the same statement like they are the same, i don’t know what to think except you lack knowledge of american politics. i call a liar a liar. i call a cheat a cheat. i call a moron a moron. i call a punk a punk.. basically a punk ia an amalgamation of negative social traits. example, the fictitious character “earl pitts” and of course desantis and trump. a punk is a boy you wouldn’t want your daughter to date . it’s the punks messing our country up.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 29, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    if there are any young underage girls, or boys, that have direct information about anything illegal desantis or any of his cronies have done, PLEASE come forward and testify. heads up matt gaetz.

  • Earl Pitts "Truth Teller" American

    September 30, 2023 at 9:34 am

    Good mornting America,
    No problem with the Stermon reveal article other than this – had Stermon been on Desantis oppisition team (that AA gentleman who “also ran” for Florida’s Govornor) how much of this article would have been redacted out of respect for (that AA gentleman who “also ran” for Florida’s Govornor) ????
    Think about it America.
    MY BIG ‘OLE 8UTT !!!!
    EPA

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 30, 2023 at 8:43 pm

      incoherent, as usual. billy boy and (aka earl pitts aka gary burbank ) your jig is up. now everyone knows who you are. what nefarious deed are you hiding with these fake names? your real name is billy purser, born in memphis tn. in 1941. what are you hiding? most maga people are hiding something. i know desantis has things in his navy career he don’t want us to know. you claim to be rons bump buddy so you should know . what’s an 82 year old guy messing with a young guy like ron anyway, weird. well billy purser, what are you not telling us?

      • Earl Pitts "Try A Pair Of Earl's Slippers" American

        October 1, 2023 at 10:05 am

        Great news Rick,
        Per your request my staff here at “The Earl Pitts American Fan Club” has located a few copies of my, Earl Pitts American, Best Seller 2021 Calandar.
        Yes Rick its the “Earl in Speedos” Collectors Edition !!
        Complete with the bonus, extra charged price point of 12 turn around photos supplimental entitled “Earl Does Back-Shots”.
        Watch your mail box Rick,
        EPA

    • Yok

      September 30, 2023 at 11:17 pm

      Guaranteed, anyone with ‘truth’ in their name or description, and ESPECIALLY suggested occuption, on social media is always the dumbest clown talking the most utter bullsh*t you’ll ever see…

  • Beverly B.

    September 30, 2023 at 10:57 am

    What about.
    If.
    Weak, Earl.

    • Earl Pitts "Beware Of Earl's Size 13 Wingtip" American

      October 1, 2023 at 8:35 pm

      ❤️🥰😍❤️

  • Amy Roberts

    September 30, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    Stermon was caught when the victim’s family came foward because she got in over her head, realized it was not a game and the seriousness of it and told her parents. I don’t believe this is Sterman’s first rodeo either, I’m sure there are other victims. Victims that did not have the family support system of this young lady. Sterman was a predator, he should be further investigated as well as the people who were complicit in his access to victims.

  • MH/Duuuval

    September 30, 2023 at 8:38 pm

    Reminds me of the Bertolucci film “1900”‘ which opens with the padrone of a large Italian estate killing himself after he fails to become sexually aroused by a young peasant girl he intended to ravish..

  • JD

    October 1, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    It’s ALWAYS the Republicans that are the PEDOs and where do those GROOMER insults hail from? REPUBLICANS. Project much assmunches?

    F*cking shamefully pathetic.

    And they wonder why their demagogue is going to jail.

    Nobody likes Republicans except other pedos. More and more they are a crime family, protect the criminals, skimming off the top, and then lying about it up and down.

    • Rick Whitaker

      October 2, 2023 at 7:19 am

      for the first time these low-lifes have a national leader to worship. david duke, move over.

Comments are closed.


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