DeSoto man faces dozens of charges of sex crimes against minors

Reporter: Andrea Guerrero Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
John Read. Credit: DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office

Charges have been added for a man in DeSoto County already facing a host of child sex crime charges and drug possession. He remains behind bars.

On March 14, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office arrested John Marshall Read, 31, for 10 charges of sex crimes and drug possession.

As detectives continued to investigate, Read now faces 11 more charges, including three counts of sexual assault and one count of possession of child pornography. According to DCSO, these charges have been added due to “his long list of crimes involving inappropriate acts with children.”

The list of charges goes on and on. Read now faces 21 charges since victims continued to come forward. Trish Routte is the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers coordinator. “The fact that we got this many victims so far is very disturbing,” Routte said.

“A guy like this doesn’t just wake up in the morning come at one act, and it never crosses his mind again,” said Routte.

Detectives say Read used a fake Instagram and Snapchat to contact teenage girls. When they searched his phone, they discovered girls as young as 14 sent him nude pictures.

When one of the girls he met online refused to meet with him in person, Read threatened to make the private pictures public. “That [was an] unnecessary unwarranted guilt trip on victims. But that’s how perpetrators like that rule,” Routte said.

“Predators so often put that guilt on these young kids and they don’t tell anybody. That’s an awful thing for an adult to do to each child,” said Routte.

DCSO said Read convinced some of the girls to meet up with him. And he touched some of them inappropriately.

Crime Stoppers still fears that there are more victims out there. So, they want everyone in SWFL to take a good long look at Read’s mugshot. “This guy clearly has some issue, he has a pattern of very disgusting and vile behavior, and we want to make sure that every victim that’s out there gets the help that they need and that read and turn this charged accordingly,” Routte said.

DeSoto County deputies also believe there are more victims in Read’s past and want to continue their investigation. If you have any information to feel compelled to come forward, you can do so by calling DCSO at (863) 993-4700.

Deputies want every possible victim to tell detectives their stories for two reasons: one so that victims can get the help they need, and two, so detectives can build a complete case against John Read.

The sheriff’s office says this is an ongoing investigation, and no one will talk publicly due to the sensitive nature of the case.

“He’s off the streets and so as long as he’s behind bars he’s not able to touch another child and appropriately and destroy their lives. So hopefully the justice system will do what we hope it will,” said Routte.

Read’s bond is totaling well over $1 million.

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