A Broward lawyer was arrested Saturday on federal child porn charges, and is also accused of abusing two underage girls, according to court records.
The 47-year-old was arrested at his Margate home. An undercover investigation allegedly revealed he was logging on to a “daddaughtersex” chat room from the Internet protocol address of his Fort Lauderdale law firm and trying to persuade a stranger to let him have sex with her 13-year-old daughter, authorities said.
The man was apparently communicating with an undercover officer for about six weeks.
Authorities claim they were quick to arrest the man on the child porn charges when they found evidence he was sexually abusing a real teenage girl.
According to reports, when agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI’s task force on crimes against children went to arrest him, they uncovered evidence that he was abusing a second underage girl in Broward County.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha Mitrani told the judge that prosecutors expect the man will be formally charged with distributing child pornography and other, more serious charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Valle ordered the man be detained at least until a hearing on Friday when the prosecution and defense can present their evidence and legal arguments to her.
The man came to the attention of law enforcement Jan. 13 when he allegedly chatted online with an undercover officer from the Vermont State Attorney General’s office, authorities said. The undercover officer was apparently posing as a divorced mother with two children in the “daddaughtersex” chat room.
In the chats, police claim the man told the undercover officer he had sexually exploited an underage girl and said the abuse was ongoing.
Investigators apparently traced the online Internet protocol address he was using to the Fort Lauderdale law firm where the man worked.
During one chat, investigators claim the man sent a link to a child pornography video that showed a girl, who appeared to be about 10 years old.
Later, police allege he sent more video links that included a 3-year-old girl being sexually abused by a woman and a 6-year-old also being abused.
The man has been terminated from the law firm where he was employed.
Child pornography charges are prosecuted in both federal and state courts. At Whittel & Melton, our Broward County Criminal Defense Lawyers work to resolve your case in a way that protects your reputation, family and future as much as possible. Sometimes this means going to trial, and in other scenarios, it means negotiating the best possible plea agreement to try and avoid mandatory minimum sentences and sex offender registration.
If you are under investigation, do not wait until you get arrested to consult with an attorney regarding your child pornography cases. By enlisting our help early on in your case, the better chances we have of establishing the best defense for your charges. If you have already been charged with a sex crime, call us today at 561-367-8777.