Saturday, November 18, 2017
Public safety

Former Clearwater resident jailed in sex slavery case

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Timothy Deegan, the son of a former Clearwater city commissioner who worked with the Catholic church, spent his teen years in a waterfront home on Island Estates. He went to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he spent the ensuing decades establishing his life as a well-known tax accountant who lived in a well-to-do home complete with a sculpture of St. Francis.

Now Deegan is in the Alachua County Jail, accused of living a sordid secret life of sexual assault, drugs and terror. The 53-year-old is accused of enslaving three women in his home, prostituting them, videotaping sex acts that he posted online, and feeding them drugs in exchange for sex and housekeeping.

According to a complaint filed by the Gainesville-Alachua County Drug Task Force, Deegan met the women last year via Backpage.com, where they booked appointments with clients for sex.

Initially, Deegan would record his sex trysts with the women and stream the videos on an adult website. But soon he was driving them to appointments with other men, pocketing the money they earned and paying them with cocaine instead, according to the complaint.

His hold over their lives progressed until he was tracking their movements with a GPS on their cellphones, and recording sex acts using cameras hidden in his home, the complaint said. He set up booby traps to keep them from leaving.

In December, one victim reported to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office that she had discovered a video of Deegan raping her while she was drugged on sleeping pills, the complaint said.

Deegan was initially charged with sexual battery. In a complaint unsealed last week, he is charged with three counts of human trafficking.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show Deegan has arrests dating back to 1979, including for disorderly conduct and resisting an officer in Clearwater, and trafficking cocaine and other drugs in Alachua County.

Deegan spent his formative years in Clearwater's Island Estates community and graduated from Clearwater High School.

His father, Art Deegan, served on what was then the City Commission in the 1990s.

Art Deegan and his wife, Patricia, moved to Clearwater in 1972 and still live in the same house on Island Estates where they raised three children.

After a career as a management consultant, Art Deegan opened an office in Clearwater where he ran the Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development, an association of planners for Catholic churches. He and his wife served on various civic and charity boards.

Art Deegan became president of the Island Estates Civic Association, then was elected to public office in 1992. He lost a bid for re-election in 1995.

He declined to speak about his son's arrest Thursday.

Timothy Deegan, who owns Deegan Professional Tax Service, is to be arraigned Tuesday.

Florida corporation records list him as the current or past president, director, manager or treasurer of about two dozen businesses or organizations.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Keyonna Summers can be reached at [email protected]

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