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Palm Harbor man accused of molesting, photographing girl, deputies say

Gavin Brannon is also accused of distributing pornographic images of the child, according to the FBI and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Gavin Brannon, 22, faces state charges of lewd and lascivious battery and lewd and lascivious molestation and federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Gavin Brannon, 22, faces state charges of lewd and lascivious battery and lewd and lascivious molestation and federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Dec. 12, 2020
Updated Dec. 12, 2020

PALM HARBOR — A 22-year-old man was arrested Friday on state and federal charges that he spent months molesting and photographing a girl and distributing those images, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Gavin Brannon faces charges of lewd and lascivious battery and lewd and lascivious molestation. He also faces federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography, deputies said.

Deputies did not say how old the girl was at the time of the allegations. The investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

It started in May when the Sheriff’s Office said it received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Brannon was in possession of child pornography. Deputies then learned that he was part of a child pornography investigation in Loudon County, Virginia.

The FBI obtained a search warrant for Brannon’s home to search for child pornography, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Brannon admitted that he “molested the victim several times while he lived in Palm Harbor” and also to “photographing the victim and distributing the images.” The incidents took place from July 2019 to May, deputies said.

Brannon was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County jail, where he was being held Saturday in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Anyone with information about this case, or who believes they are also a victim, is asked to contact Detective Crystal Schofield at 727-582-6200 or by email at cschofield@pcsonet.com.