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Child porn arrest divides neighbors

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Updated: 1/16 8:49 pm
BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. -- A former corrections officer in Bradford County is behind bars, facing charges of capital sexual battery and a dozen counts for possession of child pornography.

Most residents Action News spoke with say they were shocked to learn of Officer Robert Melton's charges, but the person most surprised may be the sheriff.

Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith says he was shocked when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement came to him with evidence against one of his employees.

"To me it’s evil that would possess you to do these type things. May God have mercy on his soul because I don't. He's got to face these people that he committed these crimes against," said Smith.

Melton was re-arrested Wednesday at his home after a joint FDLE and BCSO investigation led them to his rental storage facility. Inside the storage unit investigators confiscated two computers they say contained child porn.

Melton's neighbor Heather Bowen couldn't bring herself to respond after Melton bonded himself out of jail and waved at her.

"I couldn’t bring myself to really wave, you know what I’m saying? You know how people say innocent ‘til proven guilty, but you know what? Charges like that, it’s hard for me, especially having kids," said Bowen.

Adaline Wright says she's known Melton for years. She says she was shocked, but doesn't believe the charges.

"My children were raised around him and there was no indication of any wrong doing by Officer Melton, and we love him and we wish him the best," said Wright.

Smith says the department will continue to investigate potential victims and follow every lead.

"It angers me that it was one of our own that we worked side by side for so long with for so many years. I know his family. He has a great family, great people. It’s heart breaking and it’s really shocked the senses of all of his co-workers," said Smith.

Officials say Melton has been cooperative during the investigation. He has not admitted any guilt. He's currently in an unnamed jail because officials can't put him in the same space as people he used to supervise.

Smith says the investigation is far from over, since they're interviewing other potential victims.
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kathyloera789 - 1/17/2014 2:49 PM
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