Missing Children's Child Protection Award: Assistant State Attorney Gregory Schiller

Assistant State Attorney Gregory Schiller, who is a member of the Palm Beach County Sexual Predator Enforcement Unit, which investigates and prosecutes online predators of children, played a central role in securing the conviction of Robert Coletto. In late 2010, Coletto was arrested for possession of child pornography. Previously, Coletto had served 7 years of a 12-year sentence for sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl in 1994 and, at the time of his 2010 arrest, he was on probation for that crime. Under his new arrest, Coletto was charged with viewing child pornography.

Unfortunately, the only evidence found was in the deleted space or the cache/temporary Internet files of his computer. Mr. Schiller realized that this case would be very difficult to prove because Florida law criminalizes only the possession of child pornography. Mr. Schiller coordinated a strong forensic case against Coletto and was able to successfully violate his probation and secure a 25-year prison sentence.

While he was preparing this case, Mr. Schiller spent countless hours researching existing state law. Based on his experience with this case, he set out to have the state legislature amend Florida's statute to charge not just possession of child pornography, but also intentional viewing. In the spring of 2011, he made a presentation to the Florida House of Representatives and Senate stating that Florida's law against child pornography was outdated and that it should be amended to meet the growing trend of individuals viewing child pornography without downloading it and to protect against those hiding their collections in a cloud.

Both houses passed the amendment unanimously, and Florida Governor Richard Scott signed the bill into law this past summer. The law has already been used to support arrests throughout Florida of individuals who, without it, would continue to victimize children.

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