A Lake City man was arrested yesterday afternoon after detectives concluded a month’s long investigation into possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).
On November 29, 2023, detectives began an investigation after receiving a cyber-tip of someone within our jurisdiction possibly being in possession of CSAM. The subject was identified as Randy Cook (27). Upon initial contact with Cook, it was learned that while digital images in his possession were of concern, they consisted of sexual images of cartoon characters and other images using artificial intelligence. Since there were no images depicting real persons or victims, probable cause for criminal violations did not exist at that time.
Further investigation into Cook’s background revealed he was a registered sexual predator. Detectives requested permission to search Cook’s electronic devices and he cooperated with that request. During that process, other images of CSAM with substantiated human victims were discovered. During an interview with detectives, Cook confessed to possessing those items while also failing to report social media accounts as required by law as part of his sex offender registration.
“A threat to children has been removed from our community as a result of proactive law enforcement work,” said Sheriff Mark Hunter. “Instead of taking initial information for face-value, these detectives knew something didn’t seem right and pursued this case further. Their determination most likely prevented a child from being victimized by this suspect, and I am proud of their effort.”
Cook was arrested without incident and charged with Possession of Child Pornography (7
Counts) and Failure to Register Internet Identifying (2 counts).