A man allegedly found with thousands of images of child pornography waived his bond hearing Tuesday as investigators sifted through boxes of evidence.
Walter Jude Dec, of West Lane Street, Shelbyville, was arrested last Thursday and is facing multiple charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. He is currently being held at Bedford County Jail under $350,000 bond.
His first court appearance is set for Aug. 20 at 9 a.m.
Dec is a registered sex offender and was convicted in New York state of possession of obscene sexual performances by a child in 1998, according to the Tennessee State Offender Registry.
Detective Lt. Becky Hord of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department said the investigation began after Dec allegedly asked a friend to make a copy of a compact disc for him.
Dec told his friend that the disc contained photos of a family outing, Hord said.
"When he pops it in," Hord said, referring to Dec's friend, "all these images come up ... and it shocked him. So he immediately stopped and notified the sheriff's department."
Detective Billy Smith, who informed Hord about the case, took the call. Upon viewing the images on the disc, the department was able to get a search warrant for Dec's home.
Dec was at work when officers arrived to search. Hord said Dec's house "was a wreck, but he is organized when it comes to his video stuff."
Hord said that Dec told her that investigators would find pictures on his computer. Some of the videotapes were in the Beta format, which has not been used for decades, Hord said, adding that investigators will have to track down a machine to play them on. The evidence collected from Dec's home also contained 35mm film slides and print photographs.
Hord said the images were primarily of young boys, with the oldest being 13 or 14 years old. Most were around the age of 7 or 8, she said.
"Because of the number of images he had, there's no way we could type up that many warrants," Hord said. One disc had 747 images, another contained 787 and one CD had 1,034 pictures, the warrants state. When a suspect has more than 50 images, the charges increase from a "B" felony to a class "A" felony, Hord explained.
The warrants said that Dec possessed images that "included a minor engaged in sexual activity and simulated sexual activity," while other warrants state Dec "did unlawfully have in his possession material that included a minor engaged in sexually provocative poses, whereby the minor is nude or partially nude."
Other disks had around 12 images, Hord said, and she was able to file warrants for each of the images. Dec has a total of 30 warrants currently against him and that number could increase if more images are found, Hord said.
Hord said that they have yet to look into what's on the hard drive of Dec's computer.
Not only is Dec on the sex offender registry, he had checked in with Hord two weeks prior to his arrest, she said, but did not qualify as a violent offender. He began registering in Bedford County in 2004, she said.
Hord also said that records indicate that Dec violated the sex offender registry in Rutherford County in 2004, but there doesn't seem to be any other record pertaining to the arrest.
"That bothers me right there," Hord said.
Hord said the department had already received complaints about Dec from neighbors, saying that he was walking around the neighborhood putting up circulars for work as a handyman, "which means he's going to access residences," Hord said.
According to Hord, the offender registry did not list any work restrictions for Dec.