Lakeland man charged with 45 counts of child pornography, deputies say

Polk County

(Source: Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Friday for 45 counts of possession of child pornography, according to a press release.

PCSO made the arrest after being tipped off by the man’s former employer, Duke Energy. Duane Andrew Franz worked as a maintenance planner at the Fort Meade plant until he was laid off two years ago.

According to the sheriff’s office, a Duke Energy employee found a flash drive in a desk drawer and found pornographic images featuring children between 6 and 8 years old.

The plant then contacted the sheriff’s office, who found a total of 20 images and four homemade videos that were “obviously recorded without the victims’ knowledge” from a spot in a child’s bedroom. The minors in these videos appeared to be between 8 and 14 years old and were seen in states of undress.

“This suspect betrayed the trust of nearly everyone in his life to fuel his addiction to child pornography,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “He even created his own child pornography by exploiting two children he had access to – and we will ensure those victims get the help they need to repair the damage he did.”

The investigation later found that Franz worked as a planner for Coca-Cola before Duke Energy, and upon receiving the laptop and flash drive that was assigned to Franz at the time, the sheriff’s office found more child pornography.

Last Friday, detectives searched Franz’s home and interviewed him and his wife. Franz said he did look at child pornography but denied ever storing the images on his work devices.

Franz told authorities that he had a sex addiction that he was working on, and his wife said he had a sex addiction. Both said Franz was getting treatment for the problem.

By the time detectives finished their search, they took a total of 20 flash drives, an iPhone, a digital camera, an external hard drive, and a laptop. The devices will be forensically examined to see if more child pornography will be found, which will result in more charges.

 Franz is in the Polk County Jail on a bond total of $225,000 for the charges.

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