Florida Keys

Key West man accused of raping a woman on his boat now faces 45 child pornography charges

Jeffrey Sundwall
Jeffrey Sundwall

A Key West liveaboard boater accused of raping and choking a woman he bound was charged Friday with 45 counts of possessing child pornography.

For the alleged rape, Jeffrey Sundwall, 46, was arrested March 7 on suspicion of attempted murder, false imprisonment and sexual assault with a weapon or force on a victim 12 years old or older.

“She went unconscious twice and at one point begged the suspect not to kill her,” according to the arrest warrant. “The suspect told the victim if she struggled, she would die.”

Sundwall, however, was ultimately only charged with sexual assault with a weapon on a victim over the age of 12 while he was living on a 34-foot cabin trawler named Today in Key West Harbor near Wisteria Island.

He told detectives the woman, 27, consented to sex with him and is fighting the charges in Monroe County Circuit Court, where a public defender is representing him. He is due in court May 1.

Now, Sundwall is facing the 45 new felony charges after state and federal agents said they found child pornography on his Hewlett Packard laptop and desktop computers and also a Hitachi hard drive.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security opened the case April 7 after being asked by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for computer forensic help. The illicit collection of images found on his computers included at least one depicting a sexual battery on a child, according to the warrant served on Sundwall Friday.

The images ranged from those of a naked minor girl photographed “in a provocative pose” to a child photographed having sexual activity with a man.

Sundwall in early March was also charged with possession of cocaine. The alleged rape victim told police Sundwall forced her to smoke crack cocaine with him during the assault.

The woman told police she was invited to the boat, which Sundwall uses as a water taxi to and from Wisteria Island, also known as Christmas Tree Island, a haven for people who live on boats and the homeless.

Once on the boat, though, Sundwall came up behind her and put a “sexual restraint collar” around her neck and choked her with it until she lost consciousness, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Becky Herrin.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen