By Holly Gregory and Amanda McKenzie, Team Coverage baynews9
Last Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2015, 8:55 PM
WINTER HAVEN —
Polk County deputies arrested Joshua Smith at his home in Lakeland on Wednesday night. Smith, 32, was charged with directing or promoting the sexual performance of a child.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI received a message on an unspecified social networking website from Smith, referring to sex acts he was committing on a 2-year-old girl he knew, along with graphic images of the child.
“He said, ‘I’m the No Limit Perv Dad,’ ” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press conference Thursday.
Judd said Smith didn’t know it, but he was sending pornographic images of a little girl to an undercover FBI posing as a molester wanting access to a child.
“He sent these images to prove he had access to a live child,” Judd said. “The communication is so horrific, so graphic, so outrageous, that a normal person would never be able to comprehend what was said.”
The arrest report says Smith detailed the sex acts he would do with the girl and that his wife has no clue. Within eight hours of the online conversation, deputies arrested Smith at a Lakeland home.
“When our detectives and FBI agents went into the residence, we found the child wearing the exact same clothing that was in the photos,” Judd said.
Detectives are going through Smith’s computers. They say they have already found one more child pornography image they intend to charge him with.
Oakland Police Chief Steven Thomas said Smith was on the force for nine years and never showed any red flags.
But looking through his personnel file there are numerous disciplinary reports. One report says he was suspended without pay and ordered a psychological evaluation. An internal investigation a few years ago also found that he was falsifying time card records and lying about his whereabouts. And recent reviews show Smith was performing below standards.
“I know Josh as, like the rest of my officers,” Thomas said. “Seems to be easy going but clearly we had no idea that something like this may have been occurring.”
Smith was booked into the South Polk County Jail, in Frostproof, on a bond of $150,000. Smith is on administrative leave from the Oakland Police with pay.
polksheriff.org explains why we have no more information on this. But we would like to see some progress on this case.
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