At a court hearing for an El Cajon child caregiver accused of possessing child pornography, federal prosecutors revealed that four local families now claim that the suspect may have molested their children.
Corey Loftin, 22, appeared in a green jump suit, with his black hair closely-cropped at his detention hearing in a downtown federal courtroom Tuesday. Loftin has been in custody since his arrest April 29.
ICE agents seized Loftin's computer from his mother's El Cajon home. They say that computer contained images depicting the molestation of two 9-year old girls. One of the girls pictured is autistic prosecutors said.
Loftin chatted online with 44-year old Michael Izadore Bonsignore of Harrisburg, Penn. and sent Bonsignore videos in which he spoke directly to the girls, undressed and even exposed himself prosecutors allege.
In court Tuesday, federal prosecutor Alessandra Serano said four families have come forward since charges were filed April 29 claiming Loftin may have molested their children.
Serano said the families may have been from a preschool or may have hired Loftin as a babysitter.
Serano told the court that the San Diego County District Attorney’s office is looking into whether state criminal charges are warranted based on the new allegations.
As for the federal case, Magistrate Bernard Skomal ruled Loftin would be held without bail.
During the hearing, Serano read from the transcript of a 40-page chat entered as evidence, quoting Loftin’s description of a four-year old girl as “the look in her eyes was nothing short of pure sex.”
Defense attorney Gretchen von Helms argued that the online chats may have been fantasy and pointed out that during some of the chats, her client discussed having sex with other participants - an adult male and an adult female.
When von Helms suggested to the court that the online sex talk was encouraged by the other participant - not her client - Loftin nodded in agreement.
“You can’t detain someone for their inner thoughts,” the defense attorney said while asking the judge to consider under house arrest, not jail, for her client.
Loftin faces five to 20 years if convicted of the current charges he’s facing.
His mother and father appeared in court Tuesday. Although they declined to be interviewed by NBCSanDiego, von Helms said both parents are shocked and overwhelmed by the charges filed against their only son.
One woman who didn't want to be identified told NBCSanDiego that she worked with Loftin at Children's Choice daycare center in El Cajon, where he was fulfilling his student teaching requirements.
“He's a very good guy,” the woman told NBCSanDiego. “He is very quiet and very good with the kids.”
“I am very surprised,” she said. “I can’t imagine something like that about him.”
A spokesperson from Children's Choice says Loftin was never left alone with students because he was there to observe teachers.
Loftin also worked at the Cuyamaca College Child Development Center for a year. A spokesperson said they had performed a background check on Loftin and he was clear to work there.
Loftin also advertised his baby-sitting and tutoring services on a website called Sittercity ICE agents said.
After charges were filed, Sittercity issued this statement:
"Sittercity was deeply saddened to learn of this situation with Corey Lofton. Upon learning of this incident, we have terminated Mr. Lofton’s account and notified anyone who may have had contact with him about the termination. We are currently working with the authorities on this matter and, as this is an ongoing investigation, we don't want to compromise the Department of Homeland Security/Cyber Crime Group’s efforts."
Editor's Note: ICE agents were incorrectly identified as FBI agents in a previous version. We regret the error.
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