Cops: Statute of limitations helps child porn suspect

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Suffolk Police say they believe the Sound Beach man found with lewd photos of boys buried in his yard had sexual contact with some of his victims, but he can't be charged for those acts because they happened too long ago.

Detectives are now trying to identify the pre-adolescent boys pictured in the Polaroids, which Steven Deturris, 46, led detectives to last week in his backyard, said Det. Sgt. John Cowie of Suffolk Police's Computer Crimes Unit.

"I do believe [sexual contact] happened, but it's not chargeable because the statute of limitations has expired," Cowie said.

Deturris, a Rocky Point school district groundskeeper now on suspension, turned himself in Tuesday at the Seventh Precinct, where he was charged with one count of possessing a sexual performance of a child, a felony. He later pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip.

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Of the 50 or so Polaroids found buried behind Deturris' Sound Beach home, about 20 showed "lewd exposure of the genitalia that would be considered child porn," Cowie said. All are boys who appear to be 10 to 13 years old; the photos are believed to have been taken in the late 1980s.

"We believe these boys are neighborhood kids who may have worked with [Deturris] in his landscaping business," Cowie said.

Deturris first came to the attention of police this summer after a man in his 30s sought counseling from an advocacy group for issues related to Deturris. He then spoke with police about what Cowie called a "sexual relationship" with Deturris, and about possible photos.

At the time the photos were taken, the statute of limitations for having sexual contact with a child was five years; it has since been extended.

His attorney, Daniel O'Brien of Nesconset, declined to comment on the police assertion that his client had sexual contact with photographed boys, saying, "Well, that's certainly not what he is charged with." Deturris could not be reached. He was released Tuesday on $5,000 bail."At the time of employment, the individual did not identify any prior criminal history," she wrote. "The District was also informed by local law enforcement that there is no record of criminal activity involving this individual."

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