Former High School Basketball Coach Charged with Child Porn & Child Abuse

A local attorney and former volunteer coach at East Lake High School is facing charges of child abuse and possession of child pornography.

The 56-year-old Palm Harbor man was arrested early Saturday morning on allegations he abused a 16-year-old student on the basketball team. The man volunteered with the junior varsity basketball team as an assistant coach and also worked as a real estate and criminal attorney.

Detectives began investigating the case on Oct. 20, after they received information from Pinellas County Schools Police regarding a possible child abuse case involving the man.

Over the course of their investigation, they allegedly discovered a teenager was being mentored by the man at his Palm Harbor home. The man is accused of calling the teenager a “bad boy” and making him remove his clothing in front of him and wear a diaper as punishment for being disruptive and disrespectful at school.

During the time period between April and September, when the boy was apparently being mentored at the man’s home, detectives claim the man disciplined the boy about five times. The discipline allegedly included making the boy urinate in the diaper, which the man then changed as if the boy was a baby.

Detectives claim they also recovered a text message that the man sent to the teenager that contained sexual innuendos. Police allege that the man kissed the boy on the mouth and told him he loved him.

Detectives also claim they have learned that the man has a history of looking at child pornography, and that he has previously propositioned another boy for a sex act.

The man was arrested early Saturday morning at his home on one count of child abuse and three counts of possession of child pornography. Detectives allegedly found several pornographic images of children engaged on sex acts on the man’s home computer.

Each year an estimated 12 million children are said to be victims of child abuse, including sexual abuse. Sadly, many of these accusations, claims and charges are false allegations and have led to unnecessary charges, arrests and convictions of innocent people. Please contact a Florida Sex Crimes Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible if you or a loved one is under investigation for child abuse, child pornography or any other type of sex crime. We will do everything we can to clear your name by launching a thorough investigation and the best possible defense.

At Whittel & Melton, we provide legal representation to those who are under investigation, charged or have been arrested for sex crimes. As skilled trial lawyers and former prosecutors, we can challenge the charges against you and negotiate with the prosecution to have charges lowered or dismissed. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online 24/7 for a free consultation.