Accused pedophile facing justice 39 years after he was first arrested

WSVN — In 1977 it snowed in Miami, Jimmy Carter was president and Elvis died. It was also the year an accused pedophile got out of jail in South Florida and skipped town, but now he’s finally back in custody. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero covered the case then and is back on the case now.

His name is Jeffrey Sams. This is how he looked in 1977. This is how he looks today.

In the 1970s, Sams was accused of sexually abusing three young boys in Miami. He got out on bond and left the country.

The case shocked South Florida. The boys, all under 12, were photographed in pornographic poses which were then published in magazines. The magazines were aimed at chicken hawks. That’s street talk for older men who are attracted to younger males.

Raymond Proca, who published the magazines, was indicted along with Sams.

Carmel Cafiero: “How much money did you make publishing pictures of little boys in magazines?”

Raymond Proca: “What do I have to do, repeat myself?”

He was convicted of distributing porn. But Sams escaped to Venezuela where, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says, he abused young boys.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney: “A number of times he was actually — he was caught. He was convicted. He was in prison. Then he’d get out. He’d go back to his unspeakable acts, and then he’d get arrested again and he’d go back to their state prison.”

Venezuela refused to send Sams back to South Florida for years — until recently. Now Rundle wants to see Sams serve time in a South Florida prison for stealing the youngsters’ innocence.

Victim: “He said that they were gonna be for medical magazines.”

Back in the 70s, I talked with one of the boys who says he was photographed by Sams. He and his mother had moved to Oklahoma.

Victim: “He just kept asking me if he could — if I would do anything with him, and I kept saying no. And finally he talked me into it.”

Prosecutors have lost track of him, but another one of the boys stayed here in South Florida. In a deposition, the now 50-year-old recalled the abuse.

He said it happened at Sams’ apartment, that he “… took  pictures of us, nude. and put us in sexual positions. Asked that we do sexual acts on each other, and on him. And he would perform them, on us.”

When Sams goes to trial, the alleged victim has agreed to testify.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle: “He’s gone through a very tough life, and he’s reflective now.”

It’s been 39 years, but the state attorney says law enforcement has a long memory.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle: “No, we’re not going to forget about it, not especially when it comes to children who are victims of crimes.”

This time around, Sams is being held without bond. If convicted, he could be locked up for the rest of his life.

Carmel Cafiero, 7News.

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