A veteran Broward Sheriff’s Office sergeant, who went by the Twitter handle @CallMeSir34, faces more than two dozen charges of child pornography and illicit sexual conduct, BSO officials said Thursday afternoon.
Sgt. Kreg Costa, 43, who has been with BSO for 17 years, was arrested Thursday morning and taken to the Broward County Main Jail on 29 charges.
The charges include seven counts of engaging a child in a sexual performance, 12 counts of possession of child pornography, four counts of lewd or lascivious behavior, four counts of soliciting a child using a computer, one count of sexual assault and one count of transmitting harmful information to minors.
“I was very disturbed by the allegations, that this sergeant decided to tarnish the badge is demoralizing,” Sheriff Scott Israel said. “It hurts, for the victim and her family, and for the men and women that do the right thing.
“To see someone do this is disgusting.”
The arrest came after a two-month investigation, officials said Thursday, after staff at BSO’s Weston district reported Costa staying in his office during night shifts with the lights off and his uniform belt and gun belt removed. The Public Corruption Unit began investigating in April, and it found that Costa was viewing hardcore pornography, incest-related and bondage/dominance websites on his work-issued laptop while he was at work between Jan. 1 and March 31.
Through surveillance of Costa’s internet use, detectives found that Costa was exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 16-year-old California girl through Twitter, emails and videos. The girl told BSO officers she had met Costa through his Twitter account and told him she was 15 when they first started speaking.
Costa’s Twitter account has since been deleted. Investigators also found that Costa, a road patrol supervisor, was following two local teenagers on the account without their knowledge, according to an arrest affidavit.
On April 24, Costa, who is being held without bond, was suspended with pay and had his badge and firearm confiscated while the investigation continued.
After his arrest, Costa has been suspended without pay. According to his personnel file, Costa made about $146,000 last year including more than $10,000 in overtime.
“Every citizen accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, even a law enforcement officer,” Costa’s attorney, Jamie Benjamin, said in a statement. “We will diligently investigate and defend against these serious charges. Based on our investigation, we believe our client will be exonerated of all charges.”
A court date hasn’t been set.
“This is a sad day and a black eye for law enforcement, if these charges are true,” said Jeff Marano, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association.
A Massachusetts native, Costa’s nearly 400-page personnel file includes more than a dozen letters of commendation for excellent work and solving cases. Costa has also worked with the BSO Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to the affidavit.
Costa was approved in 2015 to work as president of the Sawgrass Youth Sports Sunrise, which works with the city of Sunrise, American Youth Football League and the American Youth Football League Cheerleading.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact BSO Public Corruption Detective Jason Hendrick at 954-321-1100.