A Collier County dentist has been arrested and is facing hundreds of child pornography charges following an investigation by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies say Stephen Layton, 68, is facing 100 counts of possession of child pornography and 100 counts of transmission of child pornography.
According to the sheriff’s office, an investigation into Layton began after they received two tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the possible transmission of child porn in Collier County. NCMEC was tipped off to the potential child pornography by the file-sharing company Dropbox.
Collier County detectives got a search warrant for the Dropbox account and found more than 1,000 sexually explicit files featuring children as young as 5.
Their investigation revealed that the images were sent from Layton’s home and dental practice.
Layton was arrested on Tuesday after detectives conducted a search warrant at his home. They say they found multiple electronic devices that will be analyzed further.
Layton appeared before a judge on Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m gonna set bond at $5,000 per count. I am going to order that you not have any contact with minor children unsupervised,” said the judge.
Add up each count against Layton, and the bond totals a million dollars.
Collier County deputies say when they confronted Layton with the evidence, he confessed to everything. He said the dropbox account was his and only his.
“It’s… Sickness,” said one of Layton’s neighbors.
The neighbor didn’t want to show her face or give her name but said the fact that Layton lives near her children scares her. “We just want to make sure all the kids are safe. We have a lot of kids in this community. So maybe get to know your neighbors a little more than what you necessarily think that you do.”
She said the choices Layton made were selfish. “There’s a lot of lives that have been affected outside of just his own. You know, not only is it the victims that he was dealing with but now it’s his partners and his family and his patients. That’s really affecting everybody.”
The dental practice where Layton worked provided WINK News with the following statement:
“Tamiami Trail Dental Care can assure our patients and the community that our team is committed to providing a safe, welcoming environment for our patients. We were shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations against Dr. Stephen Layton. Dr. Layton has been placed on leave from the office. Because the investigation is ongoing, and we do not have specific information, we are unable to comment any further on this situation.”
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said none of the files discovered so far contained patients. They are still investigating.