Friday, November 14, 2008

Charles Jackson Friedlander - Mental health Counsellor - Chats online about sadistic acts with young boys

Around the same time a mental health counselor was talking online to an undercover detective in Pinellas County about having sex with the detective's fictional young sons, he was chatting with another undercover detective about having sex with that detective's fictional mentally handicapped daughter, a prosecutor said in court this morning.

Charles Jackson Friedlander, 78, is scheduled to go on trial Monday on a charge he used a computer to arrange sex with the first detective's fictional 10- and 11-year old boys. Friedlander, of Fort Myers, could face between 10 years and life behind bars if convicted.

According to a federal complaint:

Pinellas sheriff's Cpl. Kurt T. Romanosky posed online this summer as a 36-year-old father interested in incest and the physical abuse of children.

He was contacted by Friedlander, who used the AOL screen name "Captoes," and the two talked at length about administering corporal punishment.

Beginning around February, Friedlander was talking to another undercover detective in Port St. Lucie, who pretended to have a disabled 11-year-old daughter, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Kaiser said. Those conversations ended in June, and did not lead to a meeting, Kaiser said. They also did not involve discussions of sadomasochistic activities like the conversations with Romanosky, Kaiser said.

However, Romanosky remembered chatting online with the defendant in 2005 with a different undercover persona, Kaiser said. Those chats were similar to the conversations Romanosky had with Friedlander this year, including discussions of sadomasochistic sexual activity with the undercover officer's fictional young sons.

Friedlander's attorney, George Tragos, asked a judge to prevent the prosecution from telling jurors about the other conversations.

U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore partially granted the motion, barring the prosecution from introducing in the trial the conversations with the Port St. Lucie detective. Because they did not involve sadomasochism and were not homosexual, those conversations are too prejudicial, particularly because the child involved was mentally disabled, the judge ruled.

However, Whittemore denied the defense's request that the 2005 conversations with Romanosky be suppressed. Whittemore said those conversations were so similar to the chats in the case against Friedlander that they may be used by the prosecution.

According to the complaint relating to the most recent conversations with the Pinellas detective:

Friedlander said he used to beat his now-adult son with a razor strap when the son was 11 years old. He said he had access to a friend's grandchildren, who would sometimes stay with him, and that the parents thought he was too severe in his discipline.

He said the boys were 12 and 14, and he would be "tearing them up" daily. He said he would put them in a special room for discipline and that the boys were "sometimes tied."

He also described using a heavy "garrison belt" and a "crop" to strike his son in the past.

The detective told Friedlander he had friends who shared the same interests who would come over to his house. Friedlander agreed to meet and expressed an interest in the undercover detective's 10- and 11-year old sons. He said he would bring his razor strap, English crop and garrison belt to the meeting.

He also discussed sexual activities with the boys.

He met with the detective and was placed under arrest, the complaint states.

In researching Friedlander's background, the detective learned he is a licensed mental health counselor who claims to lecture on divorce and custody issues in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The defense has filed court papers indicating Friedlander intends to argue that the conversations were fantasy and not intended to lead to the abuse of children.

Tragos also asked Whittemore to bar the prosecution from using evidence from Friedlander's computer, including photos showing sadomasochistic scenes with adult men and conversations with other adults about sadomasochistic sexual activity.

Tragos argued that these adult conversations and photographs are irrelevant to the issue involving whether Friedlander would abuse children.

Kaiser said they go to intent and whether the defendant participated in that kind of sadomasochistic sexual activity. Some of the photos and conversations, she said, depict activity identical to the activity Friedlander discussed wanting to engage in with the children.

Whittemore said he will allow the prosecutor to use the evidence, but only those photos and conversations that deal with activity identical to that included in the charged offense.

No comments: