Bail denied for former deputy accused of manufacturing child pornography
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A federal magistrate denied bail Monday for a former Harris County deputy who was fired after he allegedly posted videos of himself having sex with a small dog on a porn website.
Andrew Sustaita Jr., 30, was subsequently charged with manufacturing child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child.
Sustaita pleaded not guilty to both charges Wednesday morning.
At a detention hearing following his plea, investigators detailed the evidence against the former deputy for the first time as they argued he should be denied bail because he would be a flight risk and a continuing danger to the public.
County Deputy Jeremy Thomas testified that investigators were tipped by U.S. Homeland Security agents about videos posted on a pay website that features bestiality pornography.
Thomas testified there were two videos showing a man having sex with a Yorkshire terrier. Even though the man’s face was not visible, investigators determined the suspect in the videos was Sustaita, based on a tattoo on his right wrist, a bracelet he was wearing at the time of his arrest and a genital wart visible in the video.
The dog was identified as Sustaita’s from photographs found on the former deputy’s Facebook page, Thomas said.
Thomas also said a total of 2,163 images, and 44 videos of child pornography were found on Sustaita’s home computer and hard drives.
He testified that 59 of them were images of an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of a family friend, who often stayed over at Sustaita and his wife’s apartment to play with their children.
At least three of those photographs show Sustaita having sex with the girl while she was asleep, Thomas testified.
Other photographs found on a hard drive allegedly show Sustaita having oral sex with an adult woman, while wearing his uniform.
The six-year veteran, Sustaita was assigned to the crime control division when he was arrested on state charges Jan. 9.
He was indicted on federal charges of production of child pornography on Feb. 1.
Sustaita’s father, a 45-year veteran with the Sheriff's Department, testified he was willing to put his home up as security and insure his son has no contact with children, including his own, if he were released on bail while awaiting trial.
But federal magistrate France Stacy denied the request, saying the evidence suggests the younger Sustaita would be a continuing danger to children if he were free, and that the fact he faces 15-30 years in federal prison if convicted makes him a flight risk.
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