Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
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Enhanced child porn charges filed


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— Enhanced charges were filed this week against a man accused of possession of child pornography.

Jeffrey Alan Weed, 44, 1738 N. Crocus Road, Avon Park, was charged with two enhanced counts of possession of child pornography and one non-enhanced count. Altogether, Weed is charged with six counts of possession of child pornography.

On the enhanced counts, the maximum penalty is increased from five to 15 years, said Steve Houchin, an assistant state attorney.

Charges were enhanced because computer files were discovered that reportedly depicted sexual activities between minors and adults, he said.

As an examination of Weed’s computer continues, Houchin said, more charges could be forthcoming.

Houchin said the case was investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Fort Myers.

Andrew Rose, a special agent who is a supervisor in that office, said his agents go to chat rooms and detect activity that may involve exchange of child pornography.

The FDLE has means of tracking down the identity of the people involved in the activity, although they are not using their real names, he said.

“We have to do a lot of research,” he said. That can include finding information in databases and serving warrants.

Sometimes the sexual predators take steps to mask information that could lead to them, he said.

But that rarely works, Rose said. “Ultimately we’re able to track down a vast majority of these people.”

While many of the children depicted in the photos are not from here or may be in other countries, FDLE does share information with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“We hope to find out who these kids are and to rescue as many as possible,” Rose said.

There are also instances, Rose said, where child predators try to get children to send photos of themselves over the Internet.

The FDLE recommends that parents set rules regarding Internet use and to use software that would allow them to know what their children are doing.

FDLE also says that parents should not allow their children to surf the Internet private room, such as a bedroom.

jmeisel@highlandstoday.com

(863) 386-5834

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