|Cameron Dean Bates|
We're beginning to believe most police officers in Florida are sex offenders. See why here.
By Melissa E. Holsman
FORT PIERCE - A man who served as a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy for 18 years before resigning seven years ago now faces decades in prison after a federal jury on Thursday convicted him of 18 counts related to receiving and possessing child pornography.
After an eight-day trial, federal jurors in Fort Pierce deliberated for 3 ½ hours before convicting Cameron Dean Bates, 47, who was initially arrested in August 2012 on 10 counts of possession of child pornography and compiling child pornography. The arrest followed a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office investigation launched in 2011 that resulted in a search warrant being served at Bates’ home, which he shared with his wife and two sons in the 5700 block of Northwest Belwood Circle, an affidavit stated.
Authorities found dozens of images and videos depicting child porn stored on his laptop computer, records show.
During an interview with law enforcement, Bates admitted he had seen “child porn,” but claimed he did not download it intentionally, according to arrest records. He admitted using peer-to-peer software to download files via the Internet and he claimed he’d accidentally downloaded child pornography while accessing music files.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, when Bates testified at trial, he admitted to having bisexual extramarital affairs at a Palm Beach County location linked to child pornography. While being quizzed by a federal prosecutor, Bates admitted lying to family members and to providing advice to his gay lover on how to smuggle marijuana onto a plane. He also admitted falsifying an eviction letter to stave off debt collection by a St. Lucie County hospital and to lying numerous times as a sheriff’s deputy.
Records show Bates was a sheriff’s deputy from May 1988 until resigning in June 2006.
At the time of his arrest, his listed his place of employment as a fast food eatery. He’s also worked as a legal assistant, a teacher and as a case manager for at-risk teens on probation.
Bates was convicted of eight counts of receiving images depicting child pornography; eight-counts of accessing child pornography; one count of distributing child pornography; and one count of possessing child pornography.
At his June 3 sentencing, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years up to a 20-year maximum prison term for each count of receiving the illegal images, and up to 10 years behind bars for each of the eight counts of accessing the material. He’ll also be required to register as a sex offender.
After trial, the court immediately remanded Bates to the custody of the U.S. Marshall Service.