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Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Gainesville man arrested for possession, distribution of child pornography

Stephen Cobb has prior convictions for sexual misconduct with minors

Gainesville police arrested a man for possession and distribution of child pornography Tuesday.

The Gainesville Police Department received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a Facebook user who sent messages to other users expressing attraction to minors.

Stephen Cobb, a 60-year-old Gainesville resident and registered sex offender, is being held at the Alachua County Jail on a bond of $250,000. He admitted the account was his when GPD interviewed him at homeless resource center GRACE Marketplace, according to a GPD press release.

He told police he used to be attracted to children as young as 3 but overcame the problem when he stopped using drugs, according to the release. He admitted to the distribution and possession of child pornography, but he attributed the offenses to being under the influence. 

He was was sentenced to 30 months in prison for sexual conduct with a child younger than 16 in Alachua County in 2018, according to court records, but he became a registered sex offender in 1992 when he was convincted of child sexual abuse in Michigan.

He failed to register as a sex offender in Wayne County, Michigan around Jan. 1, 2014 and failed to report an address change in Alachua County that summer; he was sentenced to two years in prison.    

GPD concluded its statement with a warning to parents about social media platforms like Kik, Tagged, TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook, which are used to disseminate child pornography. 

Contact Omar at Follow him on Twitter @OAteyah.   

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Omar Ateyah

Omar Ateyah is a third-year journalism student and the Alligator's Race and Equity reporter. He previously served as the Alligator's crime reporter and as a news assistant on the Metro Desk. He enjoys going on long, thoughtful walks. 

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