Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Carmel on the Case: Free to Prowl
It's been more than a year since several South Florida men were busted in a sting of Internet sex predators. Several of them are still free, leaving some neighbors and families to wonder, did they or didn't they? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- BSO nabbed fifteen men last year, all accused of showing up at a Broward County house for sex with young teens, and Seven news was there.
Hamid Ackbar: "I just did a mistake, myself."
Carmel Cafiero: "You sent naked pictures of yourself? What's the mistake about that?"
Hamid Ackbar: "That is a mistake about that. I shouldn't have sent any pictures."
Today Hamid Ackbar is behind bars along with four others arrested in the operation. They're in state prison doing one to two years.
Dominic Amato and another young man have been sentenced to community control.
Judge Stanton Kaplan: "You can't go out of the house without permission of the court or your community control officer."
And college student Jonathan Myers got six months in the county jail, but seven other men, almost half of those arrested last February, are still free. Among them, registered sex offender Glenn Davidow, who, back in 1992, forced himself on a 13-year-old girl.
Carmel Cafiero: "Can you tell us why you simply can't stay away from little children?"
Glenn Davidow: "No comment."
Carmel Cafiero: "Are you concerned that you're going to be locked up again?"
Glenn Davidow: "No comment."
Judge Michael Kaplan: "Mr. Davidow, raise you right hand."
After eight court appearances, Davidow now admits he tried to set up sex with a 14-year-old girl during BSO's sting last year.
Judge Michael Kaplan: "How do you plea to the charge?
He was sentenced to 30 months in state prison but was again set free and told to turn himself in next month.
Undercover officer: "All right, move in."
Authorities say realtor David Feffer showed up to meet a 15-year old boy on his wedding anniversary.
Carmel Cafiero: "How do you think your wife is going to respond?"
Police say Brian Persten, who owns an Italian restaurant, planned to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex. According to arrest records, Persten sent a picture of his penis.
Carmel Cafiero: "What impact do you think this is going to have on your family and on your restaurant?"
Persten and Feffer have been to court five times since their arrest. Each time, the defense has asked for a continuance.
Defense attorney: "Judge, he's respectfully requesting a continuance."
And while the remaining suspects delay decisions on their cases, people who know them wonder did they do what they are accused of doing and are others at risk?
Several have sent e-mails to Seven News.
A sample: "Children on our block cannot play outside without adult supervision, and he can do whatever he wants. Some of the kids are of the same age as the girl he was soliciting. I'm concerned that he will do something that's not appropriate for a child."
Dr. Michael Brannon: "It's more than a role of the dice, it's potentially a dangerous situation."
And Dr. Michael Brannon says there's reason for concern.
Dr. Michael Brannon: "Those individuals who have the highest risk potential are very likely to engage in the same behavior again."
Carmel Cafiero: "Judges grant continuances to give defendants every opportunity to prepare their defense. However, the public also has a right to be protected. Clearly, it is a delicate balancing act."
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