Steven Joseph Card Jr., a 29-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s F Section, was arrested at his home today on several sexual abuse and possession of images of child abuse, according to his arrest report.
The case started only as one of possession of illegal images, but took an unexpected turn when some of the illegal images turned out to have been produced by him, involving a child victim. The child and objects in the background were traced to Card’s whereabouts at one of two locations.
The images were flagged through CyberTips by way of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after Card allegedly uploaded 19 suspected illegal images–child sexual abuse material, or CSAM in law enforcement’s acronym–to his Google Photo account.
The images included those of a child roughly 9 to 11 years old asleep on a bed in a t-shirt, with an adult male, face unseen, either touching her inappropriately or standing naked next to her or positioning his genitals in inappropriate ways on the child. Images also included selfies of the man’s genitals, some tumescent, some not. The images led to a search warrant being served at the F-Section home today by members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s Major Case Unit and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
In the course of interviewing individuals at the household, detectives were able to identify the child–and therefore a victim in the case–and in the course of an interrogation of Card, to determine that the victim was being abused in her sleep. Card is believed to have stored pictures of these events on his cell phone and all electronic devices were seized for continued investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said. Card appears to have been forthcoming in his interrogation. One of the items listed as evidence in his arrest report is an apology letter.
“We have zero tolerance for this disgusting behavior in Flagler County and this is exactly why I started our Cyber Crimes/ICAC Unit,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “These types of actions could have gone undetected for years if our Cyber Crimes Unit didn’t have a dedicated detective and the capability to investigate these type of internet crimes.”
Card was arrested and transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility. He’s being charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, one count of lewd and lascivious exhibition, and one count of promoting the sexual performance of a child. He’s being held on no bond. All counts are felonies, and since the victim is younger than 12, the first two counts are first degree felonies that carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison each in case of conviction. The investigation is still ongoing and additional charges may be pending.