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Pasco detectives make two arrests in separate child porn cases

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 13-year-old girl told deputies she had met the boy on Facebook.

Their conversation had started innocently enough — "a normal little teenage crush," detectives would later call it. Then the boy, 14, asked for nude photos. She obliged. Afterward, deputies say, he used the photos for leverage.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office called a news conference Wednesday to detail two arrests in recent child pornography cases.

The 13-year-old girl sent the photos using an iPhone app called Kik, said sheriff's Detective William Lindsey. The app is popular among young teens — since not all parents trust them with fully equipped smartphones — because it works through Internet connections. That means a child with only an iPod or a computer can send texts or pictures using the app.

When the boy received the photos, he asked for more, a sheriff's report states. The girl refused. Then he posted the nude photos of her on Jan. 11 to his publicly viewable Facebook page and tagged her in them for everyone to see — including the girl's mother, who told investigators.

Detectives matched the boy's profile picture to a school photo. They arrested him at his home on a charge of transmitting child pornography.

"When you allow your child to have an electronic device that has access to the Internet unrestricted, you are allowing strangers into your home," Lindsey said. "You are allowing strangers to have access to your child."

In the second case, the woman who called deputies to report it spoke to reporters Wednesday.

Jami Hastings said Daniel Colarusso moved into her apartment complex between August and November of 2012. A woman in the complex hired Colarusso, 28, to take care of her 4-year-old daughter after he responded to an ad for a babysitter on Craigs­list. Colarusso became a live-in nanny for the woman. He had a record of fraud-related charges and child neglect, which the woman never checked.

"Five days a week," said Detective Anthony Bossone, Colarusso "had unfettered access to this child."

A few months later, Hastings said, Colarusso was looking for work again, as well as a place to stay. Hastings offered him a spare bedroom in her home.

She never left her children alone with Colarusso because she didn't know him well. He was there for a month before her ex-husband caught Colarusso meddling in their bank account.

Colarusso never returned to the home, Hastings said, leaving his belongings in the spare room. Among them was a cellphone memory card. A few weeks ago, Hastings popped Colarusso's card into her phone and was sickened by what she saw: pornographic images of Colarusso abusing the 4-year-old girl.

"As soon as I put the memory card in the phone and I started looking, it was family pictures, and then it got into some pretty bad pictures," she said. "I started crying right away and called Detective Bossone."

Detectives put out a warrant on Colarusso, who was arrested Friday in Sarasota County.

He was charged with five counts of possessing child pornography, one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child and one count of sexual battery. He was awaiting extradition to Pasco County without bail on Wednesday.

Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco detectives make two arrests in separate child porn cases 02/19/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 8:48pm]
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