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Pasco sex offender accused of downloading child porn

NEW PORT RICHEY — A registered sex offender is accused of downloading child pornography to the computer he shared with his 80-year-old mother.

Kenneth M. Shessman, 51, of 3931 Headsail Drive in New Port Richey, was arrested Thursday. He is charged with six counts of possessing photographs of sexual performances by children.

Shessman was the object of an undercover operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to find people "sharing child pornography photographs and videos using the Internet," a report says. A Pasco County sheriff's detective went to Shessman's Gulf Harbors house Wednesday and Shessman's mother allowed the detective to search the computer. She said her son uses the computer every day, according to the report.

Six photographs were found on the computer of boys ages 8 to 15 engaged in sexual conduct, the report states.

Shessman, a construction worker, was arrested in 2001 after, authorities said, a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy he met online. A St. Petersburg Times story said the boy lived in St. Lucie County and Shessman was accused of driving there often and having sex with him in hotels. Authorities said Shessman wanted to take the boy to Key West and gave him gifts, such as a pager.

"Baby you have completely taken over my heart," Shessman wrote in an e-mail to the boy, according to authorities. "You are the only thing I ever think about."

The boy's mother found a photo of Shessman and her son in her son's bedroom and contacted authorities. The boy agreed to engage Shessman in phone conversations recorded by detectives and by e-mail.

Shessman's mother, Jacqueline Shessman, told the Times back in 2001 that the boy lied about his age and said he was 18.

"He really had feelings for this boy," she said.

A St. Lucie County jury acquitted him in 2003.

Two years later, he was arrested in Delray Beach on a warrant out of North Carolina for soliciting a child by a computer to commit sex. Records show he was convicted in 2007 and registered as a sex offender. The description of the crime from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says, "indecent liberty with a minor."

Shessman was held Friday in the Pasco County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.

Shessman denies owning child pornography, the report states.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco sex offender accused of downloading child porn 01/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 9:09pm]

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