Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Harsher charges levied against Ronald William Brown, puppeteer accused of having child porn

TAMPA — Federal prosecutors have brought new charges against a 57-year-old Largo puppeteer accused of owning child pornography and musing online about his desire to kidnap, cook and eat a boy from his church.

The new indictment, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tampa, is the latest twist in the highly publicized saga of Ronald William Brown.

Marked by a distinctive mix of cannibalistic fantasy and professional puppetry, Brown's tale ranked high on this year's unofficial list of Florida's strangest criminal cases.

A longtime resident of Whispering Pines mobile home park in Largo, Brown was arrested in July based on federal agents' accusations that he possessed a gruesome set of sexualized images depicting dead children. Agents also said in a criminal complaint that Brown had plotted online with a Kansas resident to cannibalize a boy from Gulf Coast Church in Largo.

Last month, Brown unexpectedly rejected a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office that his defense lawyer, Eric Kuske Leanza of Tampa, said would have resulted in a six-year prison sentence. The new indictment filed by federal prosecutors Thursday is a predictably severe response.

Each of the eight child pornography charges now lodged against Brown could result in approximately 20 years in prison, depending on the age of the children in the images he possessed. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life incarcerated, particularly if a judge chooses to issue "consecutive" or cumulative sentences for each count.

Brown's trial is set to begin in January. Leanza has filed a motion seeking a postponement.

Leanza did not return calls for comment Thursday.

The eight felony counts in the new indictment allege that Brown received multiple lewd images of children and possessed computer equipment containing child pornography.

Court documents filed by prosecutors state that a search of Brown's mobile home uncovered "hundreds of images of child pornography including various images showing children being bound and tortured" and "hundreds of images of deceased children."

The indictment filed this week is harsher than an earlier charging document, which included only one count of possessing and one count of receiving child pornography. Nevertheless, the latest allegations do not touch on the most sensational accusations at the time of Brown's arrest.

In addition to the porn charges, federal agents initially arrested Brown on a charge of conspiring to kidnap a child.

Brown was an active volunteer in the church's youth ministry, performing for congregants with his sizable array of puppets. He had also been a puppeteer on a Christian Television Network show for kids called Joy Junction.

Peter Jamison can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

Harsher charges levied against Ronald William Brown, puppeteer accused of having child porn 12/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 27, 2012 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fire at Wesley Chapel home leads to discovery of marijuana plants


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A fire that broke out Monday at a Wesley Chapel home led to the discovery of a room with marijuana plants, the Pasco Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Kriseman gets 2nd police union endorsement


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  3. Vision Zero strategy for safer Hillsborough roads: repaint, narrow lanes, educate


    TAMPA — What would it take to eliminate all traffic deaths in the county that has the most of them?

    Josephine Winiarz, left, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, center, help paint a bike lane on the Bullard Parkway Bridge in Temple Terrace in April. Brighter lanes to make motorists more aware are among the solutions developed to cut pedestrian fatalities [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Blue Jays: Looking to make it 2 in a row


    Coming off Sunday's win over the Mariners - just their fourth in the last 16 games - the Rays are looking to make it two in a row tonight as they take on the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series.

    The teams played last week in Toronto, with the Blue Jays taking three of four.

    RHP Chris …

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  5. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays


    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    And so is Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

    And they are scheduled to meet with the media.

    But before you get excited - or riled up - know it's not to make any big announcement on the stadium or the overall future …

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.