SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates why it took almost six months to arrest a sex offender who's accused of creating social media accounts with fake names and lying to law enforcement about it.
Seminole County deputies are worried John Newland may have been be trying to contact underage children, but Channel 9's Tim Barber uncovered it took five months before Newland was arrested.
Deputies found out about the incident in March, but the sex offender wasn't locked up until August because detectives said these kinds of investigations can't be rushed.
Newland man was convicted of molesting a 15-year old in the
'90s. Since then, he's been trying to move on with his life, but he was arrested for allegedly failing to report what he's been doing online.
In March, the Sheriff's Office found out the sex offender was using a fake name on Facebook, so detectives kept tabs on the 37-year-old while they investigated.
One by one, they discovered other social media accounts, which they said Newland lied about.
Legally, sex offenders must tell law enforcement about all their social media accounts.
Investigators had to subpoena records from companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram before they could figure out what Newland was doing online.
"A lengthy investigation means a thorough investigation," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer. "A thorough investigation increases the chances for conviction. And don't forget, the suspect was being constantly monitored."
Even though detectives believe the offender did not do anything sinister, they still arrested him on four counts related to covering up his social media accounts.
Newland pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance is set for October.