Miami man pleads guilty to child sex crimes 39 years later

WSVN — It took decades, but a sex offender who abused little boys in South Florida is finally paying a price for his crimes. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has followed this case from the very beginning — and now — has the conclusion.

Jeffrey Sams didn’t look like much of a threat as he shuffled into a Miami-Dade courtroom while handcuffed to a walker, but in 1977 he stole the innocence of three Miami boys.

Sams took pornographic pictures of the children and sold them for publication. He also engaged in sexual acts with the boys. All were under 12 years old.

One of the victims talked with me about the pressure from Sams.

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

Justice in this case was delayed because Sams skipped town. He ended up in Venezuela, which was reluctant to send him back to the States despite arrests there for sex crimes.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney: “He’d go back to his unspeakable acts, and then he’d get arrested again, and he’d go back to their state prison.”

But authorities kept working to get him back.

Prosecutor Laura Adams: “I think that the state’s case is extraordinarily strong in this matter.”

And now, 39 years later, Sams has admitted sexually abusing the Miami boys.

Judge Charlie Johnson: “Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?”

Jeffrey Sams: “Yes, sir.”

And with that, Sams was sentenced to 20 years in state prison. For the 63-year-old, who has health issues, that could mean he spends what’s left of his life locked up.

Carmel Cafiero, 7News.

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