Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

Police Athletic League employee faces child porn charges

TAMPA — An employee of the Police Athletic League who worked with 9-year-old children was arrested Wednesday and accused of possessing child pornography, authorities said.

Marcos Santiago, 50, had worked part-time for PAL since October 2007, according to Tampa police. The department donates to and volunteers at the nonprofit, which provides after-school and summer programs for children, but is not otherwise connected to the organization.

Santiago passed background checks to be with the league, police said. Records show he has no criminal past in Florida.

Police started investigating someone at Santiago's Tampa address possibly downloading child porn last month, police said. Late Tuesday, police confirmed that child porn was being downloaded at the address — 2717 W Nassau St. — and learned that a PAL employee lived there.

When police served a search warrant Wednesday morning, Santiago was in the act of downloading more child porn, according to Maj. Brian Dugan.

The Police Athletic League sent a letter to parents and guardians Wednesday informing them that Santiago no longer works there. He supervised a group of 9-year-olds, Dugan said, and there is no evidence that he harmed any of them. Whenever he worked with children, he was accompanied by two other adults, Dugan said.

"We have no reason to believe he hurt any kids," said Dugan, who has coached football for the Police Athletic League. "No one suspected him of this."

The child porn arrest is the Tampa Police Department's first since it joined the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a network of more than 3,000 federal, state, and local agencies.

"For your first investigation to lead to an agency that is near and dear, that's disturbing," Dugan said.

Santiago faces seven felony counts of child pornography possession and was being held in lieu of $14,000 bail at the Hillsborough County jail.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or [email protected]

Comments

Male bicyclist struck, killed by vehicle in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A male bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 19 on Monday night, according to Pinellas Park police.The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. along the 8000 block of U.S. 19 N, near the Walmart Supercenter.The driver wa...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Baby, 11 months, dies in reported drowning at Brandon apartments’ pool

BRANDON — An 11-month-old girl’s parents said their daughter drowned in an apartment complex pond Monday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The infant and her parents were not publicly identified by the Sheriff’s Office. The paren...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

LAKE WALES — Police say two devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.According to the FBI, bomb technicians examining the contents of a backpack found at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales on Sund...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Something new for Gasparilla — your own private boat captain

Something new for Gasparilla — your own private boat captain

TAMPA — The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates may be this city’s most festive event, but law enforcement maintains its zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving, whether on land or on water.So if you plan on consuming alcohol at the parade, get home ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Clearwater police arrest man in taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

Clearwater police arrest man in taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

CLEARWATER — Police officers arrested a 38-year-old man they say robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint Monday morning near Crest Lake Park.According to Clearwater police, Samuel Eric Brown, of Clearwater, stole cash from a driver for United Cab, took th...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Police: Driver rear-ends school bus in Clearwater

Police: Driver rear-ends school bus in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A driver rear-ended Monday a school bus on the way to Safety Harbor Middle. None of the 38 students on board were hurt in the crash in the eastbound lanes of NE Coachman Road just west of U.S. 19, according to Clearwater police. Most boa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the driver who seriously injured a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Dover on Monday morning.Deputies say the suspect was driving a Toyota Camry that is now missing part of its right front air dam afte...
Published: 01/22/18

Woman, 35, struck and killed while walking across SR 60 in Valrico

VALRICO — A 35-year-old Thonotosassa woman was struck and killed by a car while walking across State Road 60 west of Mount Carmel Road on Sunday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.Brandi Eckelstafer was walking south across SR 60 just after 8 p....
Published: 01/22/18

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Published: 01/21/18

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding driver on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three people early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montanez...
Published: 01/21/18