Father regrets letting son hang around puppeteer child porn suspect Ronald Brown

7:14 PM, Jul 27, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Largo puppeteer wanted to ''cook'' and ''eat'' children

 

LARGO, Florida -- Imagine seeing someone's mug shot on TV or the Internet, then listening to the allegations against him -- which include wanting to kidnap, murder, and eat children -- and then realizing your kids have been hanging out with him.

That's the nightmare Roger Newsome is living.

"It's blowing my mind.  I just don't get it," he said.

Ronald Brown, a Largo puppeteer who performed for kids around the Tampa Bay area for a number of years, was arrested earlier this week on federal charges of child pornography and conspiring to kidnap a child.

A criminal complaint details his graphic online conversations on the subject.

Newsome says his three sons, ranging in age from 6 to 12, started spending time with Brown a year ago.

He tells 10 News they went to church with him weekly and often went down the block to visit Brown, who called himself the "cotton candy" or "snow cone" man.

"I just want to make sure he hasn't done anything to my kids.  I don't know.  My kids say no, but you know how kids are.  I don't know," Newsome explained.

Newsome says the more he thinks about the charges, the more scared he becomes.

He says his two oldest sons are Facebook friends with Brown, who would sometimes try to get them to go out to dinner with him.

"I thought he was a little too nice and a little creepy to want kids hanging around him all the time.  I just never saw any adults around him," Newsome said.

His 12 year old son, Chris, remembers being inside Brown's house.

"He has a bunch of puppets.  I was trying to open one of his closets, but he told me not to go in there.  And I said 'Why?'  And he was like, 'You don't need to know,'" he recalled.

Federal agents say so far at least six people have been arrested in connection with this case, including five in the United States and one in Europe.

Agents said Friday the investigation is still ongoing and they wouldn't be surprised if more arrests are made.

Newsome says, in hindsight, he regrets letting his kids spend so much time with Brown.

"Nobody had said anything about the guy.  Nobody," he explained.

Brown's attorneys spent about 20 minutes inside his mobile home Friday morning.

The two men left with a single white bag and declined to comment.

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