Broward man videotaping kids at beach accused of being prolific child porn collector

Suspect held on $1.5 million bond

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Coral Springs man, who was reported to authorities after he was seen videotaping children showering at the beach, has been accused of possessing thousands of child pornography files, authorities said.

At a first appearance hearing on Tuesday, Judge John "Jay" Hurley ordered John Jefferson Field, 66, to be held on $1.5 million bond.

"You allegedly told police that what you have is much more than a fetish," Hurley said, reading from a Broward Sheriff's Office report.

According to the Sheriff's Office, on Nov. 23, a Deerfield Beach lifeguard saw Field videotaping children as they washed off at the beach in the 100 block of Southeast 21st Avenue.

After he was approached by a deputy, Field handed over his camera. The images on it showed unclothed girls, mostly under 5, as they showered.

Field admitted he had a collection of similar images at home, including about a year's worth of lewd images of children at the same beach. He also admitted to have been collecting child pornography for about 13 years, the Sheriff's Office said.

"You said that you do this at the beach, allegedly, because it's the only place the girls take their clothes off," Hurley said.

Detective Jennifer Montgomery, a member of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children, met Field at his home where he voluntarily gave up several media storage devices, according to officials. More than 50,000 files of explicit images of young girls were found, along with about a dozen videos of boys engaged in sexual acts, the Sheriff's Office said.

"They did find 100 files which are the basis for these charges today," Hurley said at Tuesday's hearing. "Five videos depicting children under the age of 12 engaging in sexual acts, 95 still images of females."

Authorities said Field could face more charges as the investigation continues.

Deerfield Beach Mayor Peggy Noland said she was shocked by the incident. "I have three children, all older now, but I can't even imagine being a parent and someone is taking pictures of my children," she said. "I took all my children's clothes off to shower off the sand. They need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent."

Assistant State Attorney Dennis Nicewater, who prosecutes Broward County's Cyber Crimes Against Children cases, said the type of furtive photography that started Field's legal saga is not uncommon.

While he could not discuss Field's specific case, Nicewater said, "We've had a lot of people caught doing that, three or four cases at least," he said. "They'll keep little video cameras in a beach bag so they can get film of naked kids in the showers or the bathroom…it's good for people to know about."

Should Field post bond, Hurley ordered that he stay away from all local beaches and not have any private contact with anyone under 18.

The Broward Sheriff's Office asked anyone with information about youngsters potentially harmed by Field to call Det. Jennifer Montgomery at 954-888-5239 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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