A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested Thursday on 29 child porn, child molestation and sexually illicit conduct charges was ordered held on $250,000 bond Friday.
Sgt. Kreg Costa, 43, was observed by his suspicious Weston district colleagues sitting at his laptop computer in his office during his night shift with the lights turned off and his gun belt removed. An investigation by the public corruption unit revealed he was viewing websites for hardcore pornography, incest and bondage while on the job, the BSO said.
Authorities say Costa, who has been charged with using a computer to lure a child for sex, exchanged in sexually explicit emails, videos and Twitter messages with a 16-year-old girl from California. He told her to film and photograph herself masturbating. He used the Twitter handle @CallMeSir34 and she used the name @Babygirl. He called her “Princess” and she called him “daddy.”
In an emotional statement, the girl said the exchanges began when she was 15, BSO said. Costa asked her for photos of her body and genitals, and she was afraid to say no in case he exposed their interactions. She was uncomfortable with his requests and didn’t know why she complied. She said she “thought it was helping her be more confident,” but it did not. She felt “really insecure” but he told her that “no matter what, she was beautiful.”
Never miss a local story.
Investigators said Costa preyed on underage girls and had more than 150 photos and several videos of them.
Costa was involved with youth league football and was shadowing cheerleaders on Twitter, BSO said.
While Costa’s attorneys said he and his family — his wife and children — could only afford a $50,000 bond, prosecutors requested a $345,000 bond. The judge decided on $250,000. If Costa is able to post it, he will face numerous restrictions: He will have to wear an ankle device monitoring his location; he won’t be able to use cell phones or computers; he will be prohibited from any contact with children and any visit with his own children will be supervised; he must stay 1,000 feet away from schools; and he cannot leave South Florida.
“When all is said and done based on what we know and what we’ve investigated, the charges are baseless and he will be exonerated,” Costa’s attorney Daniel Aaronson, said in a statement.
Costa, a 16-year BSO veteran, was arrested Thursday after a two-month investigation during which detectives followed his internet activity and set up surveillance cameras in his office. He is suspended without pay.
“These charges are deeply disturbing. These allegations, if true, are reprehensible and actually disgusting,” Sheriff Scott Israel told the media. “It’s a bittersweet day for us, very disappointing. I feel for the victims, I feel for the family. We can only hope and pray that there are no other victims.”
Investigators believe there are more victims and urge anyone with information to call BSO at 954-321-1100.