A Florida sheriff's sergeant was arrested for child porn. He killed himself after six nights in jail.

 

A veteran sergeant of a Florida's sheriff office died Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, just hours after his release from jail on child pornography charges.

Sgt. Kreg Costa spent 17 years with the Broward County Sheriff's Office before, police said, he was covertly captured on camera in his office looking at online child pornography for three or four hours per shift, according to ABC affiliate WPBF.

In addition to viewing images that showed underage girls, incest and bondage, Costa was accused of carrying on inappropriate online exchanges with a teenage girl in California who informed the sergeant she was 15, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Costa, a father of five, was facing 29 charges linked to child pornography and illicit sex, according to the Sun Sentinel.

After spending six nights behind bars, Costa was released from jail Wednesday on $250,000 bail, the paper reported.

Eight hours after his release, Costa shot himself in the head at his home in Sunrise, Fla., police told the Sentinel.

He died several hours later.

Police said there were no witnesses and nobody else was at the home when the shooting occurred.

"His wife and children need our prayers and support," Veda Coleman-Wright, a sheriff's spokeswoman, told the Sentinel.

Costa came under suspicion after his behavior became increasingly erratic, according to a statement from the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Colleagues, the statement said, "noticed Costa staying in his office during his night shift with the lights off and his uniform belt and gun belt removed."

"As a result of this bizarre behavior, PCU detectives requested a computer usage report of Costa's work-issued laptop from January 1 to March 31," the statement said. "The report showed Costa was viewing hardcore pornography, incest-related and bondage/dominance websites while he was at work."

As the investigation unfolded, Costa was suspended with pay and relieved of his firearm, badge and sheriff's identification card, the statement noted.

After his arrested, Costa faced the following charges, according to police:

Use of a Child in Sexual Performance, Possession of Material Depicting the Sexual Performance by a Child, Lewd or Lascivious Battery, Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors, Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using Computer Services or Devices and Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors by Electronic Device or Equipment.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference last week, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel called the alleged actions "disgusting."

"These charges are deeply disturbing," the sheriff said, according to the Sun Sentinel. "These allegations, if true, are reprehensible. We're not going to stand for this type of behavior. It was illegal, it was immoral, and it tarnished the badge."

Bondsman Dave Collins, of American Surety Co., told the Sun Sentinel that he spoke to the sergeant by phone before he was released from jail.

"I would say he was in shock," Collins said. "He wasn't speaking, he was trance-like."

By the end of the night, Costa was dead.

"Our client is a loving father of five, he never stopped loving his children," said Costa's lawyer, Jamie Benjamin. "Apparently the pressure of facing these charges troubled him much more than we all realized."

 

Author Information:

Peter Holley is a general assignment reporter at The Washington Post.

 

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Peter Holley · NATIONAL, COURTSLAW · Jun 17, 2016 - 6:41 AM

 

 
 

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