Daniel Biles, Former Bunnell Teacher’s Aide, Sentenced to 7 Years on Child Porn Charges
FlaglerLive | January 24, 2013
Daniel Biles, 39, was for years a Bunnell Elementary school teacher aide, who lived across the street from the school, on his parents’ property on North Palmetto Avenue. Last April, he was arrested on 10 charges of possessing child pornography. Two months later, after making $20,000 bail, he was rearrested on 14 additional charges. He posted $28,000 bail. The State Attorney’s office eventually charged him on 20 counts.
He was in court Thursday afternoon, appearing before Flagler County Circuit Judge J. David Walsh to plead no contest to 20 counts.
Walsh, following the recommendation by the state, sentenced him to seven years in prison (with only eight days’ credit for time served). Biles will be designated a sex offender. And he will be on sex-ofender probation for five years after his release. He will also pay some court costs.
Each count is a third-degree felony. The 20 separate counts combined could have potentially yielded a sentence of 100 years in prison, had he gone to trial and been convicted.
As the judge and the lawyers discussed the plea agreement and the technicalities surrounding Biles’s designation as a sex offender (it has to be a verbal order by the judge), Biles stood to his attorney’s right, leaning on the lectern, holding a burgundy-colored Bible which he’d been reading, on and off, while waiting his turn for three hours alongside several family members. As Walsh asked him question after question–the routine questions asked every defendant submitting a plea–Biles answered in a subdued voice, his words breaking on occasion.
“It’s not the end of your life. You’ll get through this, all right?” the judge, in an almost fatherly tone, told Biles, a slight man who appeared shocked by the sentence, even though he knew what he was pleading to.
“You might want to leave that here,” Walsh said, referring to the Bible, which Biles did not want to part with. Without his book, he was then ushered to area of the courtroom where inmates are fingerprinted. Bils was swabbed for a DNA sample, handcuffed, and–as he fought back tears, looked at the ceiling and mouthed the word “Mom” repeatedly as he looked back at his family–was taken into custody through a side door.
Throughout his recent years at Bunnell Elementary, Biles had received little short of glowing evaluations from Bunnell Principal Richard Dupont and, before him, from Principal Phyllis Pearson. Biles had also worked for the district’s adult education program, in its extended-day system and in summer camps. He was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after his first arrest, which took place near the end of the school year. He was not re-hired the following fall.
Biles was arrested by the Bunnell Police Department after a joint investigation with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s office. Biles had taken his computer to a repair shop in Bunnell, where shop techniciens somehow found images of naked children stored on the computer’s hard drive.
Biles had had a brush with the law before, on related issues. In 2003, when he was 30, Biles was accused of inappropriately touching at least two boys at Miss Dawn’s Lil Kountry Kids Preschool and Day Care Center, where Biles worked. Randy Burke, then a sergeant with the Bunnell Police Department (he’s now a lieutenant) investigated the case, and was on record saying that he believed there was a case. But after the Department of Children and Families recorded video statements by the children, the case was dropped for insufficient evidence.