Attorney General Charlie Crist News Release
"Sexual crimes against children are horrific and we’re going to keep working against those who would prey on our most vulnerable citizens," said Crist. "We continue to make excellent progress in the fight against predators in our state."
Law enforcement officers executing the search warrant verified that Berry’s computer contained the movie found online by the undercover investigator. Berry admitted that he knowingly possessed that video of child pornography, as well as numerous others. His computer was removed from the residence and will undergo further forensic analysis to locate possible additional pornographic images or movies of children.
Berry, who is stationed at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, is currently being held at the Escambia County Jail. He is charged with one count of promoting the sexual performance of a child, a second-degree felony, and seven counts of possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison.
The CyberCrime Unit's mission is to protect children from computer-facilitated sexual exploitation. The unit does this by working cooperatively on a statewide basis with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to provide resources and expertise, while preventing the spread of these crimes through education and community awareness. Berry’s arrest is the fourth made by officers with the CyberCrime Unit since its inception in October 2005.
A study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center indicated that at least 24 million children between the ages of 10 and 17 use the internet regularly. One out of every five of these children received a sexual solicitation, one in every four received unwanted pictures of naked people or people having sex, one in every 17 was threatened or harassed and one in every 33 received an aggressive sexual solicitation asking the recipient to meet, phone or accept gifts.
In addition to establishing the CyberCrime Unit last fall, the Attorney General has taken several steps to protect Florida's children during the past year.
• Last May, Crist and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell, in conjunction with Pitney-Bowes, announced an enhanced state website that makes it easier to keep track of sexual offenders and predators in Florida.
• A new publication titled "Safe Steps" was produced for the purpose of educating parents on ways to protect their young children and alert them to issues involving teenagers. The publication was produced in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and is available online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ChildSafety.pdf.
• A series of one-hour courses called "Escape School," covering child safety for both children and parents, was presented at 25 locations around the state.
• In December, Florida became the first state to join forces with Family Watchdog, a unique service that provides email notification when registered sexual predators move into a neighborhood. The website is part of the Amber Alert network and can be accessed directly at http://FamilyWatchdog.us or through the Attorney General's site at http://MyFloridaLegal.com.
The Attorney General also successfully fought for the constitutionality of the Florida Sexual Predators Act - Florida's version of "Megan's Law" - which requires sexual predators to register once they are released from prison. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the arguments put forth by the Attorney General's Office of the Solicitor General. The Supreme Court also agreed with the Attorney General's argument that automatically placing a convicted offender's name on a list of offenders is not unconstitutional. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a legal challenge to the Florida law requiring sex offenders to register with the state so their pictures and other identifying information can be posted on the internet.