BSO officer arrested on child porn and molestation granted bond

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A judge set a $250,000 bond for Broward Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kreg Costa Friday morning, after he was arrested Thursday on multiple charges of child pornography and child molestation.

BSO Sheriff Scott Israel announced Costa’s arrest in a press conference, Thursday, and the following day Costa went in front of a judge for the first time.

Costa remained mostly silent as his lawyers and the judge debated for nearly 20 minutes whether he should get out of jail. “We thought we presented a compelling argument why he’s not a risk of flight, not a danger,” said attorney Daniel Aaronson.

Prosecutors disagreed, asking for a bond of $345,000 and a long list of special conditions. The judge granted the prosecutors’ request and prohibited Costa from access to any devices with internet, weapons, unsupervised contact with his five children and contact with minors. In addition, Costa must stay 1,000 feet away from any school or sporting event and cannot travel beyond Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade counties.

According to the arrest form, Costa was charged with seven counts of using a child in a sexual performance, 12 counts of possession of child pornography, four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, one count of sexual assault, four counts of soliciting or enticing a child using a computer and one count of transmitting information harmful to minors.

Costa’s attorney, James Benjamin, told 7News the case is based on an alleged online relationship between Costa and a 16-year-old girl. He said Costa is innocent until proven guilty. “The whole thing is strange,” he said. “Every citizen accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Even if that person is a law enforcement officer. We are going to diligently investigate this case and defend the case.”

According to the report, Costa’s command staff noticed he was not leaving his office during his overnight shift, and had been caught in his office on several occasions with the lights off and his gun belt removed. Costa was reprimanded, but continued his behavior, according to the report.

The office then launched an internal investigation into Costa.

“Upon being advised of what was being observed, we became proactive on our employee in efforts to reveal what exactly was going on during his shift,” BSO Internal Affairs Maj. Angelo Cedeno said.

The office set up hidden surveillance cameras and bugged Costa’s work office in Weston to monitor his physical and online activity. Detectives said the footage from those cameras, as well as keystroke-recording software on his work computer, showed that he viewed hardcore porn on multiple websites while on duty, including underage websites and incest-related websites.

Investigators said Costa used social media to prey on young girls and reached at least one victim.

“A young girl who was 15 years old at the time, from California,” said Israel.

Detectives said Costa disclosed to the girl that he is a family man in his 40s.

The report detailed messages between Costa and the girl online. One read, “CallMeSir34: Does Princess love her daddy” and the victim replied, “Babygirl: Yes daddy! Babygirl loves you very much.”

Another read, “Babygirl: Babygirl is sorry, but she is tried and has school tomorrow.” He then responded, “CallMeSir34: It’s OK … didn’t you like the pic?”

The picture, investigators said, was of his erect penis.

Nude pictures were found of the underage girl, and of other minors, on his laptop. According to the 16-year-old victim, she has a 4.0 GPA in high school, attends church and trusted Costa. In total, over 150 photos and several videos of minors were discovered in his possession.

Costa’s neighbor Jao Ferro said this did not sound like the man who he lived next to for several years. “Beautiful family … his wife is a very special person. He is, too. He’s a very nice guy,” he said.

Costa worked with BSO for 17 years as a road patrol supervisor in Weston and worked in concert with the department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

“It was illegal,” said Israel during a press conference. “He was immoral. He tarnished the badge, and we’ll investigate and move forward.”

Aaronson, however, said his client is entitled to his day in court. “He’s innocent until proven guilty, so when you speak of his innocence, he is as innocent right now as I am and as you are,” he said.

Costa was also the former president of Sawgrass Youth Tackle football league, the Sunrise Gators. He is also accused of secretly following two of the cheerleaders from this league on social media.

The league’s president issued a statement that reads in part, “While presently there is no evidence to suggest any crimes were committed against our members, we are still taking a proactive approach and response to this matter.”

Costa’s attorney said it is unlikely his client will be able to come up with the money to post bond. He had originally asked for a $50,000 bond. “I think it’s premature to say that he can’t. From our first look, I don’t think he can,” said Aaronson.

Costa remains at the Broward County Jail.

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.