Lake City man, 29, accused of producing child porn

By Vic Micolucci, General assignment reporter, vic@wjxt.com
News4Jax.com Staff, webteam@wjxt.com
Published On: May 06 2014 10:46:37 AM EDT
Updated On: May 06 2014 08:40:44 PM EDT

According to the government's complaint, Robert Starling took nude photos of at least 5 children and downloaded many more pictures. Channel 4's Vic Micolucci tells how investigators found out about the charges.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A 29-year-old Lake City camp counselor has been charged with producing child pornography.

Federal agencies say he took nude pictures of at least five underage children. If convicted, Robert Starling faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervision.

Starling, a counselor for the Rotary Youth Camp for disabled children, was arrested last Thursday and was ordered detained pending a hearing on Thursday.

In a criminal complaint, FBI agents say Starling admitted to taking pictures of underage boys, including a 4-year-old, and that he said he understood child pornography to be illegal.

Starling is accused of taking the pictures at the child's home. Agents said he met one of the children while working as a camp counselor at the Rotary Youth Camp.

A spokesperson with the camp released the following statement: "The staff and board of Rotary Youth Camp are aware of the charges against one of our former campers/camp counselor Robert Starling. Rotary Youth Camp has provided a one-week camping experience for severely disabled youth in the panhandle for 20 years. We have no further comment on these pending charges."

The charges don't sit well for those who live and raise their families near Starling's home.

“That made me disgusted,” neighbor Dan Morrow said. “I have children. In fact, I am glad they got him and I hope they get the rest of them.”

Morrow and his family live across the street from Starling's home, and they said they saw several agencies raid the house late last week.

“All of a sudden a big white truck and a whole bunch of other vehicles came and like I said in a matter of minutes they were in there,” Morrow said. “There was just camouflage and the black suits everywhere.

“You don't think to see that in your own neighborhood in rural America. That's why we bought this place, to get out in the country and away from the crap.”

According to the complaint, beginning in September, FBI agents executed a series of search warrants on several email accounts around the country and determined, among other things, that a particular user in Lake City had uploaded images of child pornography to the Internet using an account on a photo sharing site. Further investigation traced the account back to a Starling's home.

On Thursday, FBI agents and other law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at the home. Starling was not there but was located later that morning driving his golf cart at the Suwannee Music Park and Campground in Live Oak.

During an interview at his campsite, Starling said he had produced pornographic images of several prepubescent children and that he searches for and downloads child pornography via the Internet, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators said he provided the identities of five prepubescent children with whom he produced child porn. Starling estimated that he may have around 7,000 videos and 5,000 still images of child porn, according to investigators. They said a preview of Starling's laptop computer revealed that it contained more than 600 videos depicting child pornography.

Comments

The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus