Man serving time for child porn faces child-rape charge

Officials say Stephen Nelson admitted to having sex with a minor.


Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 4:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 4:20 p.m.

A former Gainesville resident serving 20 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography is now facing state charges of raping and molesting a child with whom he was acquainted.

According to U.S. District Court files, the case against Stephen Todd Nelson, 44, began in May 2010 when the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force uncovered evidence showing he was sending and receiving child pornography from a computer at his home.

Investigators from the task force, Gainesville Police Department, FBI and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office worked on the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Williams.

During a search of Nelson's Gainesville area home on July 21, they found many computers containing pornographic images and videos of prepubescent children engaged in sex acts, including sadism and masochism.

A day later, Nelson agreed to take a polygraph test administered by the Sheriff's Office. Sgt. Tom Witherington said Nelson admitted engaging in sexual acts with a girl, beginning when she was in eighth grade and continuing until she was 20 years old.

Investigators said they located the girl, and she confirmed that Nelson had sexually abused her over about eight years.

Federal court records show Nelson agreed to a plea deal last fall. He pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography.

Nelson was returned to Alachua County on Tuesday to face state charges of sexual assault and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. Under Florida law, he could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Nelson was being held at the Alachua County jail on Wednesday, awaiting a court appearance on the new charges against him.

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