NEW PORT RICHEY — Investigators say they found a computer with hundreds of child pornography images Thursday when they raided the home of a 73-year-old man, and Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco vowed that his office’s Cyber Crimes Unit will aggressively pursue more child pornography cases.
“We are doing everything we can to protect our kids,” Nocco said at an afternoon press conference just outside Millpond Estates, the subdivision where the man lived.
Denton Lake Croft of 4427 Whitton Way faces charges of possession of child pornography and promoting sexual performance by a child, an arrest report said. He was taken to the Land O’ Lakes Jail.
Detective Anthony Bossone said the sheriff’s office had been investigating Croft for about a month, though he declined to reveal the details of how investigators discovered Croft’s alleged use of child pornography.
Bossone said when investigators arrived at Croft’s home about 7 a.m. Thursday, they seized his computer, finding hundreds of pornographic images and videos. Croft’s arrest report said all of the videos and images involved children who appeared to be younger than 13 and one was an infant.
In each case, the children were engaged in sexual acts or were posed nude.
Deputies spent much of the day searching Croft’s house and removing evidence. Croft is married, but his wife did not appear to be aware of his activities, Bossone said. Croft told investigators he was the primary user of the computer and that he used file-sharing programs to search for and download child pornography, his arrest report said.
Nocco said his department’s biggest fear is that people addicted to child pornography eventually “are going to act on it” and a child’s life will be ruined.
“We’re not going to allow that to happen,” Nocco said.
For his press conference, Nocco used the entrance of Croft’s neighborhood off Trouble Creek Road as a backdrop, saying he wanted to send a message that such crimes know no boundaries.
“We just saw a school bus go by here,” Nocco said. “It could happen anywhere in our community.”
The Cyber Crimes Unit is a fairly recent addition to the sheriff’s office and the growing problem of child pornography is becoming a focus.
“With technology evolving, it’s becoming much more prevalent,” Lt. Eric Seltzer said.
This was the Cyber Crimes Unit’s second child pornography arrest in two weeks. In the other case, the suspect was the manager of a convenience store and pharmacy who was about 40 years younger than Croft.