Florida puppeteer Ronald Brown has been accused of possessing child porn and is said to have plotted to kidnap, cook and eat children.
According to CNN, the 57-year-old is now behind bars, facing federal charges of conspiring to kidnap a child and possessing child pornography. Court documents said Brown, who posed with puppets on his website and offered birthday party performances and school-group workshops, had graphic discussions online about abusing, kidnapping, killing and eating children.
The puppeteer was arrested Friday as part of an international investigation conducted by Homeland Security agents, reported the Tampa Tribune. He is accused of having images of child pornography, children in bondage and children who appear deceased in his possession. The images were found on his computer and on a CD in his sock drawer.
Brown appeared in federal court Tuesday and had his bond hearing postponed, according to WPTV News. His legs were shackled as he got the news that he would remain in jail for the time being. Brown's lawyer, Eric Kuske, later told reporters his client is innocent.
"He's not involved with this, he wouldn't do something like this," Kuske said.
WPTV also reported that Brown's neighbor, Stacy Gaughan, said she was not surprised by the allegations, since the puppeteer was known to spend a lot of time with children in the neighborhood, taking kids to church with him and hosting pizza nights at this home for groups of children at least once a week.
"They'd come with their bikes and their skateboards and they'd hang out, waiting for him to come home," Gaughan said.
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A sheriff's deputy found boys' underwear between the front seats of Brown's vehicle during a 1998 traffic stop, according to CNN. Brown told the deputy "he used the boys' underwear for puppet shows, dressing puppets in underwear."
The Tribune reported that he was listed in the Pinellas County School District's speakers directory as a puppetry expert for children from kindergarten to grade 8. His name has now been removed from the school district's list.