Prosecutors: Cops ID kids in 'composite' porn photos

Architect Jay Lockett Sears talks at the Hamptons Architect Jay Lockett Sears talks at the Hamptons Celebrity roundtable at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. (July 9, 2003) Photo Credit: Newsday/Paul J. Bereswill

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A federal prosecutor said Monday that Suffolk police have identified a number of young girls whose pictures were used by a prominent East End architect to create child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bodie said in federal court in Central Islip that the government will seek an order of protection for the girls, barring Jay Lockett Sears, 73, of East Moriches -- who took their photos in public places -- from having contact with the youngsters.

Bodie said that the Suffolk police and FBI agents are seeking other young children whose photographs Sears may have taken, then transposed onto pictures of adults engaged in pornographic acts. In court documents, officials have said the process is known as morphing, and Sears allegedly made hundreds of them.

When federal magistrate Gary Brown asked Bodie whether Sears had used a computer, as is now common in the production of child pornography, the prosecutor answered, Sears "is not a computer savvy individual."

Bodie said Sears used "old school" photography. According to court papers, Sears allegedly cut out the faces of the children, pasted them on the pornography and photographed the composite.

Sears has designed 1,500 homes, mainly on the East End and for celebrities such as Susan Lucci, Michael J. Fox and Clint Eastwood. He was arrested Friday after a joint investigation by Suffolk police and the FBI.

The investigation began after an unidentified person, emptying a container at the Brookhaven Town Dump transfer station, told Suffolk police that he found the pictures. The contractor who brought the container to the dump told investigators he had removed them from Sears' apartment, after Sears said he was moving and wanted the place cleaned out.

Sears, who was active in numerous East End charities and his own Mission of Kindness group that helped needy families, took "pictures of children at public events, such as beach and yacht club parties and society events," the court papers say.

The hearing was scheduled to have Sears present a proposed bail request. But Sears' attorney, Daniel Barker of Riverhead, said his client had not come up with a package. Afterward, Barker declined to comment.

Brown continued a prior order keeping Sears in jail as a danger to the community, pending future hearings.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York, asked parents who believe their children may have been victimized to contact the Suffolk County Computer Crimes Squad at 631-852-6279 or the FBI at 631-501-8600.

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