News and Press Releases

St. Lucie County Man Charged Federally with Internet Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kenneth Mascara, Sheriff, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office (SLCSO), announce that a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Cameron Dean Bates, 46, of Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Bates will be arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Frank J. Lynch, Jr., in Ft. Pierce.

The two-count indictment charges Bates with receipt and distribution of child pornography via the internet, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2). If convicted of the distribution and receipt of child pornography charges, Bates faces a maximum term of twenty years imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release. In addition, Bates would have to register as a sex offender.

Prior to indictment, Bates was federally arrested on August 3, 2012, on a criminal complaint. On August 6, 2012, Bates made his initial appearance in federal court in Ft. Pierce, and is currently on a $250,000 bond. According to the criminal complaint, in March 2011, SLCSO detectives and members of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force began an Internet investigation utilizing Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software. During this investigation, it was discovered that between December 2010 and June 19, 2012, several internet protocol (IP) addresses linked to Cameron Dean Bates, in both St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County, were seen logged on as downloading and/or sharing child pornography files. Detectives reviewed a number of the files associated with the IP addresses, and confirmed that they were videos containing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit activity.

On June 19, 2012, after seeing activity from the Bates IP address on the ICAC database, detectives conducting surveillance observed Bates leaving his St. Lucie County residence. Activity on the database stopped immediately before Bates was observed by law enforcement.

On June 29, 2012, members of the Saint Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division and South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a state authorized search warrant at the home of Cameron Dean Bates in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. During a Mirandized interview, Bates admitted that he had seen “child porn,” but claimed that he did not download it intentionally. Bates admitted that he used several types of P2P software, but that when he saw child pornography, he deleted it. Bates admitted to seeing child pornography at both his residence and his “employer’s” Boca Raton residence. Detectives located a Dell black/silver laptop computer in the front passenger seat of Bates’ red Dodge Neon, which BATES identified as his "work computer". An on-sight forensic preview scan of the computer found numerous, non-deleted, child pornography images and videos, which involved the use of a minor child engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Bates was taken into state custody on June 29, 2012.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

An indictment is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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