A former Casselberry Boy Scout and Cub Scout leader arrested on child-pornography charges has admitted to police that he molested possibly a dozen young boys in his care during camping trips, new court documents say.
Inside Fleetwood Peeples' storage unit, Orlando police found two photo albums filled with more than 100 Polaroid pictures of the nude children "posed in a lewd and lascivious manner" during camp-outs, according to a police affidavit.
In a tear-filled confession, Peeples told police that he molested the campers, some of them from his neighborhood, and forced them to perform sex acts.
An official with Boy Scouts of America said the group is assisting the investigation into Peeples, a Scouting leader from 1980 to 1982.
"The behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands," said Bill Gosselin, director of operations of the BSA Central Florida Council. "Nothing is more important to us than providing the safest environment possible for our youth members."
Gosselin added that Peeples is no longer associated with Scouting and has been banned from future participation as a result of his arrest.
Authorities first encountered Peeples after he slipped and fell inside a unit Jan. 26 at Uncle Bob's Self Storage in Orlando. He had a gash on the back of his head and was lying in a pool of blood when paramedics arrived.
Paramedics became suspicious when Peeples, unconcerned about his injuries while being transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center, kept asking about a camera he thought had been left behind at the storage unit, court documents said. He was unaware the paramedics had, at his behest, brought the camera along.
He also wanted to make sure the keys to the unit and his car were kept away from his wife, who later told police she had no idea he had a storage unit so far from their Casselberry home.
When questioned by Orlando police in the hospital, Peeples admitted he had been taking digital pictures of the child pornography in his magazines when he fell in the storage unit.
In addition to the pictures of the Scouts, police also found multiple 8-millimeter films, newspaper clippings and more than 100 magazines containing thousands of lewd pictures of children.
"Peeples became nervous and stated he was going to jail for what he has done and started to cry uncontrollably," the report said. He told police that viewing child pornography was "a bad habit he wanted to get rid of."
Police say Peeples gave them written permission to search the storage unit. He was arrested Feb. 14 when he was released from the hospital.
Police think his victims, who were 5 to 12 years old at the time of the abuse, could be 30 to 50 years old now. No victims have come forward since Peeples was arrested, Orlando police said.
Orlando defense attorney Richard Hornsby said criminal charges related to the molestation admissions are unlikely because the abuse appears to have happened so long ago.
"Most likely, the statute of limitations has run out in the child-molestation charges," Hornsby said. "He wouldn't be able to be prosecuted."
But the 76-year-old man still faces a possible conviction on child-pornography charges for the thousands of pictures found in the storage unit.
"A conviction will [essentially] result in a life sentence for him," Hornsby said.
Even if he isn't charged in the molestations, prosecutors may still present his taped confession to a judge to get a more rigid sentence for the child pornography, Hornsby added.
Hornsby said Peeples' attorney will likely attempt to have evidence thrown out and try to convince a judge that Orlando detectives did not have a right to search the unit despite a consent form Peeples signed while he was in the hospital.
"But that's a long shot," Hornsby said. If Peeples is convicted, "he'll never see the outside of a prison again in his life."
The suspect is the son of the once well-known swimming instructor Fleetwood Peeples Sr., who worked for Rollins College and Winter Park High School.
Fleet Peeples Park in Winter Park was named in honor of his father, who died in 1993 at age 95.
Peeples Jr. remained in the Orange County Jail on $12,500 bail Thursday.
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