On Thursday, March 13 after receiving information about possible child pornography being found on a personal laptop computer, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives responded to the Bartow Library to meet with a family member of 61-year-old Homer Dewayne Rudd, 60, 4710 Hunt Rd. in Bartow.
The family member told detectives Rudd had been found viewing child pornography on the laptop and gave the laptop to detectives. With the laptop owner’s consent, a forensic examination was conducted and detectives identified two images of child pornography related to pre-pubescent girls between 4 and 7 years old.
On Friday, March 14, PCSO detectives responded to Rudd’s residence. Post Miranda, Rudd told detectives he knew why they were there and admitted to using the laptop computer to view websites which contained child pornography.
Rudd told detectives he viewed pre-teen models and some child pornography would “pop up” from the website. He additionally clicked links within the websites he navigated to in order to locate additional similar sites. Rudd admitted to intentionally viewing child pornography for the past 14 to 16 months and that it is a “problem” he has, police reported. He said the age range of exploited children he viewed was between 8 and 16 years old. Rudd told detectives he did not download or save the images, but would view them on the websites and visit them regularly, while also using search engines to locate child pornography.
Rudd told detectives he has a leadership position within Lake Hamilton Baptist Church.
Rudd was arrested and initially charged with two counts of possessing child pornography. He was transported to the Polk County Jail without incident. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the laptop and discovered an additional 38 images of child pornography.
The additional charges were added. In total, Rudd was charged with 40 counts of sexual performance by a child. His bond was set at $1,000 per count, for a total of $40,000 and he was booked into the South County Jail.