A man was jailed Tuesday after police said he confessed to having snapped nude pictures of a 4-year-old boy with his cell phone as the child played in his family's Key West yard unaware of the stranger's gaze.
Jeffrey Sullivan Burkhalter, 44, of Marathon, was arrested after a stranger found a Samsung cell phone at the local Walgreens on May 31 and, in trying to determine the owner, discovered photographs of nude children, an affidavit said.
"Some of the photographs are zoomed in on the four-year-old's genitalia area," police reported.
The stranger turned in the cell phone to Key West police, who obtained a search warrant and identified the phone's owner as Burkhalter.
Burkhalter, who lives on a sailboat in Marathon, couldn't give an explanation as to why he took the photos, police said, but didn't deny he took photos of the child who was playing on a patio, which is covered by a roof and lattice work.
"Burkhalter admitted he took the photographs of [the boy] and downloaded other nude photographs of prepubescent children from picturing viewing websites," Detective Matthew Haley wrote in an affidavit. "Burkhalter denied that he takes or views photographs of prepubescent children for sexual gratification."
Burkhalter faces a felony charge of video voyeurism. On Wednesday, he remained jailed at the Stock Island jail in lieu of $35,000 bond.
On Tuesday, Haley visited a Key West home where a man identified the pictures on Burkhalter's phone as his son. The father said he did not know Burkhalter, after viewing a photograph of the suspect.
Police pinned down the location from the photos.
Burkhalter said he was with a friend at the time, the affidavit said. When confronted about the close-up pictures of the child's genitals, police said Burkhalter replied that he was "just trying to take photographs," and didn't intentionally frame the images that way.
The photos were taken between May 9 and May 31, police said.
Florida law doesn't take into account the motivation behind taking nude photos of children under age 18.
"The child had a reasonable expectation of privacy," the affidavit said, calling the act "covert."