PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - A veteran Palm Beach County Sheriff’s sergeant is behind bars Thursday evening, weeks after his own agency started investigating him.
Sgt. Mario Pradere, 50, was arrested by his own sheriff’s colleagues Thursday morning. He is facing charges of lewd and lascivious behavior and a charge of recording video of a child under the age of 16.
The investigation started in June when Pradere was accused of possessing naked pictures and videos of minors. The material, according to court documents, was found on a SD Card discovered in furniture that had been removed from his Wellington home.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 is not identifying who brought the allegations against Pradere since identifying that person could reveal his alleged underage victim.
Pradere was hired by the sheriff’s office December 1, 1991 and assigned to the Loxahatchee-Groves area, said Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
“We have over 4000 employees and a certain percentage of them will make mistakes in life, some of them criminal. It's a disappointment not tolerated by the Sheriff or this department,” Barbera said.
Pradere’s attorney Steven Sessa said he will defend his client vigorously.
Pradere is scheduled to make his first appearance before a judge Friday morning. He remains on paid administrative leave.