Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teenager pleads guilty to possession of child porn, becomes sex offender

TAMPA — Patrick Melton, 17, became a sex offender Thursday after pleading guilty to 50 counts of possession of child pornography.

Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives first learned of Melton's Internet activity in December 2008. Using a search warrant for his home that following March, they found the images, including one of a man molesting a 2-year-old.

When they tracked Melton down at Tampa Bay Tech, deputies said he admitted downloading them.

He told a detective he was 9 years old when an Internet search typo introduced him to child pornography.

He meant to type "hot rods," he said. Instead, he typed "hot bods."

Prosecutor Rita Peters said Melton admitted to authorities that if he had not gotten caught, he might have gone on to touch a child.

Taking into account his age, candor with detectives, stable home environment and the fact that many of the images he viewed were of children within his age bracket, prosecutors offered him a deal: six years of probation with sex offender treatment.

Melton took it.

His attorney told Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe the teenager's plans include getting his high school diploma and going to church with his parents.

Tharpe called Melton "son" when he addressed him.

"Do you realize what a tremendous benefit you are being offered?" Tharpe asked.

"Yes, sir," Melton responded.

"In order for one of these pictures to be made, each and every time, a child has to be victimized," Tharpe told him. "Their innocence is stolen, and that will never, ever be returned to that child."

Tharpe told Melton his freedom is at stake if he violates probation.

"If you don't take advantage of this opportunity, you could spend the rest of your life in Florida State Prison," Tharpe told him. "You understand?"

Melton responded, "Yes, sir."

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Teenager pleads guilty to possession of child porn, becomes sex offender 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings