Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Monday, July 14, 2014
Guilty plea in peeping Tom case

A former Key West Coast Guardsman arrested two years ago in an Old Town "peeping Tom" case has agreed to plead guilty on a child pornography charge, and could face lifelong supervision when sentenced next month, according to court records.

The plea agreement signed by Ryan Witten, 27, and federal prosecutors on Tuesday appears to have ended the ping-pong match between Witten and prosecutors in which Witten tried to get much of the evidence against him tossed.

Witten agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of child pornography that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced Aug. 6 in Key West before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez.

The prison sentence will be followed by a mandatory five years of supervised release, but Witten could be sentenced to a maximum lifetime supervision as well as maximum fines of up to $250,000.

Witten further agreed to forfeit a litany of computer gear to the government that was confiscated as evidence: an Apple Macbook, an external hard drive, 35 mini-DVDs, five data cartridges, 21 VHS tapes, one mini-VHS tape and 94 compact discs, according to court records.

"The defendant does not contest the government's assertion that the above named property constitutes or contains child pornography or was used or intended to be used to facilitate the possession of child pornography," the plea agreement states.

Witten was previously convicted on June 13, 2013, in state court on five counts of video voyeurism and one count of loitering and prowling. Two weeks later, state circuit Judge Mark Jones sentenced him to 60 days in the Monroe County Detention Center and three years probation.

A federal grand jury subsequently indicted Witten, 26, formerly of 620 Angela St., on one count of possessing a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

There was no evidence in the complaint that any of the minors depicted were local, and no allegation in the complaint that Witten recorded local children.

The case began when Witten was arrested in August 2012 following a foot chase with Key West police on the 700 block of Whitmarsh Lane after receiving reports of a peeping Tom.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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