MANATEE — Police say a man arrested on child pornography charges after a raid of his Palmetto home Wednesday had an estimated 1,000 images of child pornography on computer equipment and CDs in his possession.
Federal, state and local law enforcement executed a search warrant at the home of 50-year-old Brian Perry on Wednesday morning, seizing a computer, thumb drive and several CDs that contained numerous images of pornography depicting children as young as 4 years old, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
Perry not only possessed the child porn, he disseminated it on the Internet, and there is concern he may have victims locally, according to police. So far he has been charged by the Florida Attorney General’s CyberCrime Unit with promotion of child pornography and 20 counts of possession of child pornography.
Police also found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the house, which led to possession charges.
“He is a dangerous individual,” said Bradenton Police Deputy Chief William Tokajer.
Members of the CyberCrime Task Force raided Perry’s home at 2805 49th St. E., a few miles east of U.S. 41, early Wednesday and brought him out in handcuffs at about 10 p.m., taking him to the Manatee County jail in an unmarked Bradenton police car. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bradenton Police Department, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.
A placard above Perry’s front porch announced “Brian Perry Painting, Inc.,” and a work truck in his carport also identified him as a painting contractor.
Bradenton police began investigating Perry after tracing child porn found on the Internet to his residence. That investigation led to the search warrant used to search Perry’s home, according to an attorney general’s report.
Perry’s arrest is the eighth by the task force in cases originating from investigations by task force member Detective Kevin Bunch of the Bradenton Police Department, out of more than 200 child porn arrests by the task force statewide.
Two of the local cases have led to convictions since Bunch joined the task force in 2009, leading to four years in prison for a man who had child porn on his computer, and a year and nine months in prison for a man who traveled to Manatee from Punta Gorda to find that a 14-year-old girl he had arranged to meet online, turned out to be law enforcement posing as his victim.
The string of arrests is a troubling realization for law enforcement as to how prevalent child porn is locally. Bunch had originally been assigned to the task force as a job to perform in addition to his other investigative duties. It quickly became is only assignment, according to Bradenton Police Lt. John Affolter.
“We started to see how much it really was out there on a local level,” Affolter said. “It is a full-time job now.”
There are a number of reasons for that, according to Michelle Collins, of the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children in Alexandria, Va.
Collins said child pornography had been a problem well before the Internet, but the seeking of such material used to be much more of a gamble for offenders.
“They might have had to order a magazine from a foreign country, or risk exposure by asking for it in a store that sold pornography,” Collins said. “So they had to reveal information about themselves publicly to get it.”
With the Internet, child porn can be accessed from a person’s home, making it easier to conceal their identity, and even leading seekers of child porn to network on ways to disseminate the material without being detected by law enforcement.
But the technology worked both ways as law enforcement has begun using cutting edge techniques to track child porn on the Web, and information sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement has increased. Local law enforcement is also getting much more training from federal and state levels to combat child porn on the Internet, Collins said.
“The only real way for law enforcement to be effective is to work together on all levels,” she said. “Florida has been especially effective in that with its task force, especially in the training needed for local law enforcement.”