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Police Athletic League employee faces child porn charges

Marcos Santiago had worked part-time for the Police Athletic League since 2007. 

Marcos Santiago had worked part-time for the Police Athletic League since 2007. 

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 whobson@tampabay.com.

Police Athletic League employee faces child porn charges 08/07/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9:57pm]
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