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Antique Dealer Arrested On Obscenity Charges for Filming Underage Girls

What; they don't have child porn laws in Florida?

Antique Dealer Arrested On Obscenity Charges for Filming Underage Girls

POINCIANA, Fla. - The sign on the counter of John F. Denitto's Antique Mall read "Models Wanted Paid Hourly," but confidential sources told police in Winter Haven, where the store was located, about 30 miles south of Orlando, that within the past 30 days, a 14-year-old girl had been paid $40 to pose for nude photos in a side room of the business.

Police located and questioned the girl, who said that Denitto used the side room, which was cordoned off from the rest of the store with a white sheet across the entrance and a sign stating "Restricted Area," to "manufacture films that include males and females engaged in sexual acts."


That was enough for police to obtain a search warrant for the business, which was executed on Tuesday and turned up several photo albums of nude women, as well as a video camera, several photography books, a 35 MM camera, a Polaroid camera, several more nude photos of women, and six VHS tapes, all of which were seized.

The police investigation also revealed that Denitto's product was sent to another antique shop in Louisiana, as well as a "location in South Florida," presumably for resale. Denitto told police that he manufactured the movies for sale and charged $65 apiece.

According to the Winter Haven Sheriff's Office, Polk County Judge Kevin Abdoney determined the seized tapes to be obscene, and Denitto was arrested and charged with six counts of manufacturing obscene materials and felony wholesale promotion of obscene material.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood said the investigation is ongoing.

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Mark Kernes


Posted 02/27/2009 by baronjon
Concerning your story of January 28, 2009, “Antique Dealer Arrested on Obscenity Charge for Filming Underage Girls,” I am responding, in hopes of getting the truth of this matter out into the public. I am John DeNitto, the senior citizen, and antiques dealer smeared by these unfounded accusations of child pornography. Missing from your story is the fact that, when questioned by a local reporter on January 28, 2009, Sheriff’s spokesperson, Donna Wood, stated that “Sheriff’s Officer officials have not found any child pornography.” [Lakeland Ledger, January 29, 2009]. Two weeks after this date, on February 12th, the state attorney at a hearing, again admitted that no child pornography or photos of underage models had been found. At that time, the state attorney asked for and received, from the judge, an extension of two additional weeks to find evidence of child pornography. The two week extension ended yesterday, February 26th, and still, no evidence has been found. On January 27, 2009, 12 (twelve) investigators from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department searched my business for 8(eight) hours, taking with them whatever they thought might be evidence. It has now been 30(thirty) days since the seizure of my private property, and still, they cannot find evidence of child pornography or underage models. They have not been able to find any, because I never allowed anyone under the age of 18(eighteen) to ever pose for me. To save face, the detectives turned this whole thing into an obscenity case, charging me with 1(one) count of the wholesale promotion of obscenity, and 6(six) counts of the manufacture of obscene materials. In the story, it says that the detectives seized 6(six) VHS tapes, when in actuality, they seized more than that. The judge who viewed the tapes probably found only portions of the tapes obscene. In honesty, NONE of the content on those tapes could meet the “three-pronged criteria test” necessary for materials to be considered ‘legally obscene.’ Remember though, this IS POLK COUNTY we’re talking about. I’ve been accused of selling material I produced. This is also untrue, as I have never sold any of my work. ALL that I produced involved consenting adults, AND was produced for my own private collection. If one of the models wanted any of her photos, I would give them to her, FREE of charge. As for shipping items to Louisiana and South Florida, I have shipped collectibles and antiques, BUT not any pornography or photos of nudes. As for the charge of selling videos for $65.00 each, what actually happened there was that several months ago, an undercover officer entered my business and asked about the modeling sign. He wanted to know if I would produce a video of him and his girlfriend, and how much it would cost. I responded that his girlfriend would have to have a valid photo ID, proving she was 18(eighteen) or older, and that the video would cost $65.00. I also told him, that he would immediately take the videotape with him. As for WHY all this happened, the lead investigator imparted the following scenario to me: the sheriff’s department stops “somebody up the street” with drugs, and to get out of the drug bust, they’ll tell us anything we want to know about you. He also said, “We didn’t start looking at you last week or last month. We’ve known about you for a long time.” My amateur photography hobby of photographing female nudes, which law enforcement in this county disapproves of, was NOT against the law, so they get a drug addict with a lengthy criminal record, who also knows me, to provide a ‘sworn’ statement that I had photographed a 14(fourteen) year old girl. The only reason I cooperated with the investigators was because I thought a child might be in danger, and I didn’t want the officers wasting valuable time investigating me. Of course, I was wrong. Their search was not to find the truth, but to make an arrest, on any trumped up charges they could find, even when they lacked evidence. ALL of my photos were developed by Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart, CVS drugstores, and Eckerd Drugstores (when they were still in business). These businesses did not find the photos obscene. The photos I shot would be considered artistic boudoir, classical, glamour, and pin-up nudes. These photos would have raised eyebrows 50 years ago, but would be much too mild for today’s adult men’s magazines.
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