The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
In 2017, Chad Robison, worship leader for Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto, Florida, was arrested and charged with “three counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, specifically intentionally masturbates live over a computer online services knowing that the transmission is viewed by victim less than 16 years of age; 1 count of knowingly promoting sexual performance by a child; and 3 counts of Video Voyeurism for own use.”
Florida deputies arrested a former worship director early Thursday morning after finding thousands of sexual pictures and videos of young girls and filming them in his bathroom without their knowledge.
According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, 36-year-old Chad Robison was arrested on several sex charges including video voyeurism and lewd and lascivious exhibition.
Back in May, a coworker alerted detectives about inappropriate videos on Robison’s laptop. Shortly after, he was fired as worship director at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church.
Investigators found more than 3,000 videos and 350,000 pictures on his laptop with hundreds featuring young girls performing virtual sex acts with Robison.
Deputies said Robison also filmed young girls using the bathroom in his home without their knowledge. The videos range anywhere from several years old to some made just a few months ago.
“We believe there could be multiple victims. Some may be local here in Citrus County, and others across the states and abroad,” Capt. Brian Spiddle said. “It’s going to be a very difficult and long process to find those who have been victimized by this man.”
Several victims are out-of-state including some as far away as Canada and New York.
“I commend the detectives that have been working on this case,” Citrus County Sheriff Prendergast said. “We’ve just scratched the surface and already we know there are several victims out there. I’m so proud of this unit and what they’ve done to bring charges against this very sick man.”
Robison was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, specifically intentionally masturbates live over a computer online services knowing that the transmission is viewed by victim less than 16 years of age; 1 count of knowingly promoting sexual performance by a child; and 3 counts of Video Voyeurism for own use.
His bond was set at $26,000.
Seven Rivers Presbyterian is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America — a Fundamentalist Christian sect.
Robison later pleaded no contest in July to 48 felony counts ranging from promoting sexual performances by a child and possessing child pornography to transmitting harmful materials and video voyeurism.
In August 2018, Robison was sentenced to eleven years in prison for his crimes.
Chad Robison lived two lives.
In the other, the 37-year-old Hernando man spent years stockpiling illicit images and recordings of teenage girls he seduced online, and of unsuspecting women he videotaped at their most vulnerable times.
The latter of Robison’s lives, which he kept secret from his family and congregation at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, earned him a prison sentence Monday.
After hearing a couple hours of testimony from either Robison’s supporters or prosecutors at Robison’s Monday morning sentencing, Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard ordered Robison to serve 11 years in prison, followed by 11 years of probation.
Robison wept beside his attorneys as Howard delivered his punishment, which also carries a lifetime sex-offender designation.
Robison’s family, churchgoers and other supporters, who took up half of Howard’s courtroom, surrounded and comforted Robison’s wife, Alexandra, who cried as bailiffs escorted her husband away.
Robison’s sentence came after he pleaded no contest in July to 48 felony counts ranging from promoting sexual performances by a child and possessing child pornography to transmitting harmful materials and video voyeurism.
Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office claim Robison’s crimes date back as far back as 2012.
Howard, who had looked over roughly 220 screen captures and other evidence authorities seized from Robison’s laptop computer, told Robison he was not just appalled by what he saw but also by how Robison was reacting when he interacted with his victims online.
“It’s enough to make some of these people run for the streets,” Howard said. “The enthusiasm of your sexual deviance, your sexual interests is something that cannot be overlooked.”
Before he was sentenced, Robison extended an emotional apology to his victims, his community and his church.
“I understand I have caused this community great pain; I have brought pain, I have brought fear, I have brought anger,” Robison said at his sentencing. “I recognize it, I take full responsibility and if anyone ever wants to talk to me, I will lay at their feet and give them my full repentance.”
Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, where Robison produced Christian music as a worship director since 2011, would not comment on the sentencing.
Robison’s defense team, made up of Charles Vaughn and Gilbert Schaffnit, said Robison’s sex addiction diagnosis — brought on by years of childhood abuse — was to blame for his double life, and warranted rehabilitation, not incarceration.
“He’s not a risk to re-offend,” Vaughn told Howard.
Assistant State Attorney Blake Shore and Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast recommended Howard hand Robison the maximum 25 years.
“What we’re here today for is punishment … we’re not here because of a sex addiction, we’re here because of what he’s done to the little girls and women,” Shore said.
“He took advantage of innocent children and left invisible scars that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives,” Prendergast added.
Detective Chris Cornell, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s lead investigator on Robison’s case, testified to sorting through Robison’s cache of unlawful materials, which were first discovered in May 2017 when Robison’s co-workers tried to play a prank on him.
Cornell said Robison selected his victims by visiting several video chat websites and searching for girls between the ages of 10 and 15, who he would then ask to undress for him or perform other sexual acts with him online.
“He’s a textbook online predator … he’s the one we warn our children about,” Cornell said, adding Robison would lie about his age and use photos of teenage boys as his own profile picture to mask his identity.
Cornell said investigators were able to locate a few of Robison’s victims, one of whom provided a written statement about her online exchanges with a persistent Robison during the summer of 2016, when she was 14 years old.
“I told him I was too young for him and he was begging me not to skip him,” the girl said in a letter read aloud by Assistant State Attorney Erin Leathers.
Robison also tried to take inappropriate photographs of girls and women in public, Cornell said, adding Robison was able to videotape women as they used his bathroom.
One woman, who was a member of the church, said Robison used hidden cameras to record her as she changed into different outfits to model in for Robison and his wife.
Alexandra Robison testified she didn’t know what Robison was doing to their models or online.
“The moment he told me everything, I didn’t believe it because it wasn’t him,” she said. “A few of those people were my friends and I was very upset.”
Alexandra Robison said she chose to remain with her husband because of the humility he showed when his addiction crippled him, and the dedication toward his remorse and rehabilitation.
“Chad has hit rock bottom and further … and he’s hit every stride,” she told Howard. “It wouldn’t do me any service or my child any service … for him to go to jail. … I don’t want to see my child grow up without a father.”
Robison’s lawyer says he is not a risk to re-offend. Really? I mean, really? sigh
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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