Palmetto man faces additional 58 charges of possession of child pornography

jdeleon@bradenton.comJanuary 9, 2014 


MANATEE -- A Palmetto man is facing 58 additional charges of possession of child pornography.

Paul Ventre, 42, was first arrested Oct. 16 and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation and 20 counts of possession of child pornography. Detectives from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office filed the additional 58 counts Tuesday.

Ventre appeared before Manatee County Judge Doug Henderson for a first appearance hearing Wednesday afternoon. Henderson set bonds totaling $87,000 on the current charges.

Assistant State Attorney Eliz

abeth Traverso requested the bond be raised from the preset $1,500 per count.

"The state would like to request bond be raised to $5,000 per count because there are essentially more charges to an existing case," Traverso said.

Henderson let bond stand at the preset amount.

Ventre has remained in custody at the Manatee County jail since his initial arrest.

The sheriff's office began an investigation in May after it received a computer memory card with images that appeared to be of a 14-year-old girl from a Bradenton from a man who frequently purchases storage unit contents auctioned for failure to pay. He came across the images as he was deleting the contents from a memory card from an auctioned unit.

Investigators identified the girl, whom Ventre knew, and located her in North Carolina. An interview with the girl by the Henderson County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina confirmed Ventre had taken the pictures of her and touched her.

Ventre was confronted about the allegations by detectives at his home in the 500 block of 12th Avenue West in Palmetto. He reportedly admitted to owning the memory card and the cell phone it came from and renting the storage unit, as well as taking the photos and touching the girl.

Detectives executed a search warrant Oct. 17 at Ventre's home. The property seized was forensically analyzed Tuesday and analysis of one laptop reportedly revealed 58 images of child pornography.

Ventre is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges Jan. 24. A jury trial in the case is set to begin May 26.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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