Florida Keys

Former Keys restaurant owner gets prison for child porn

Michael Savinelli is handcuffed at the Marathon courthouse prior to being taken to the Stock Island jail May 10, 2018..
Michael Savinelli is handcuffed at the Marathon courthouse prior to being taken to the Stock Island jail May 10, 2018..

A former Marathon resident and one-time owner of a popular Middle Keys restaurant and bar was sentenced to four years in prison last week on 10 counts of child porn possession.

Michael Savinelli, 50, originally faced a total of 76 counts of possession of child pornography — one count each for every pornographic image found on his computer. In May, he pleaded no contest to 10 felony counts.

Acting Monroe County Judge Ruth Becker sentenced him to prison followed by 24 months of sexual offender probation, followed by another 48 months of regular probation.

Prior to the July 30 sentencing, Savinelli had been free on a $420,000 bond and living with his family in Connecticut, said Larry Kahn, spokesman for the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office.

Savinelli’s arrest at his Sombrero Beach Road home on Nov. 16, 2016, was the result of a joint investigation by U.S. Homeland Security, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Agents received a tip that someone in Savinelli’s home might be uploading child pornography.

While agents conducted a search warrant, Savinelli waived his Miranda rights and told them there might be child pornography on his computer. Savinelli said he lived alone and no one else had access to his machine, Kahn said.

Investigators initially found six sexually explicit images of children on his computer; a forensic search located 70 more.

His arrest shocked the close-knit bartender and server community. At the time, Savinelli owned the Hurricane, near mile marker 49. The popular eatery and watering hole closed down immediately after the arrest but has since reopened under new ownership.

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