2004-02-17: Yarmouth man faces 3 child-porn counts
(Published: February 17, 2004)
Yarmouth man faces 3 child-porn counts
Girl says the suspect photographed her in the nude, police allege.
By DOUG FRASER and JASON KOLNOS
SOUTH YARMOUTH - A 45-year-old South Yarmouth man will be arraigned on three counts of child pornography after police alleged he photographed a young girl in his home and kept thousands of sexually explicit photographs.
Police say Robert Laplante had thousands of sexually explicit photos and a cache of dolls and toys in his home.
Robert E. Laplante is to appear this morning in Barnstable District Court.
The police investigation began Friday morning when a school psychologist notified Yarmouth police that a female student had reported being photographed in the nude.
Yarmouth Police Detective John K. Fallon, a sexual assault investigator, Officer Louis Nickinello and Investigator Matthew Fleischmann conducted the investigation that led to a search of Laplante's residence at 18 Wampanoag Road Friday night.
Police discovered thousands of photographs of young females, said Yarmouth Police Lt. Stephen G. Xiarhos. Police also seized videotapes, cameras and several computers.
Laplante was charged with:
Possession of visual materials of child sexual conduct.
Enticement of a child under 16.
Posing a child in the nude.
In addition to the photos, police also found a cache of children's toys, including dozens of Barbie dolls, inside Laplante's home, Xiarhos said. Laplante also had a collection of newspaper clippings of JonBenet Ramsey, the 6- year-old Colorado girl who was found murdered in her home on Christmas night 1996.
A police photo shows a variety of dolls, including life-size mannequins, seized from Robert Laplante's South Yarmouth home.
Police also found weapons in his house, including various homemade knives and swords.
"What we found in his house was very, very disturbing," Xiarhos added.
Xiarhos said the FBI was contacted and is assisting in the investigation.
Xiarhos said the girl who reported being photographed is under the age of 16, and that Laplante, who works at several area motels, became friendly with both her and her parents.
Xiarhos said police believe Laplante offered money or gifts to the girl to coax her into posing for the pictures.
"She is very young. I don't think she realized what he was really doing," he said.
Xiarhos said investigators had worked through only a tenth of the thousands of photos but had not identified any other local students among them.
Police are legally prohibited from releasing information about Laplante's past, including any prior convictions, but Xiarhos said Laplante had never been arrested for or convicted of this type of crime.
Xiarhos said Laplante has lived in Yarmouth for the last two years, but that police were investigating Laplante's past addresses.
In an effort to find any other local victims, Yarmouth police are asking that anyone who knows Laplante or may have seen him call Detective John K. Fallon at 508-775-0445, ext. 118.