Saturday, February 2, 2008

DCF worker arrested on charges of using teens in sexual performance


A public spokesman for the Department of Children and Families has been charged with eight felony counts of using two teen-agers in sexual performances, the state announced Friday night.
Authorities said Al Zimmerman of Tallahassee was arrested in Lakeland Friday and taken to the Hillsborough County Jail. He was immediately fired by DCF, the huge state agency that administers child-protection programs among many other health and social-welfare duties.

Police said Zimmerman, 40, asked at least two victims, between 16 and 17 years of age, to perform lewd acts, which were used to create pornography. The offenses he was accused of are punishable by up to 15 years in prison per count, the state said.

The arrest of Zimmerman, a DCF employee since 2005, was announced jointly by his department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Attorney General Bill McCollum's office. The Tampa Police Department and FBI were also involved in the continuing investigation.

"In light of this incident, I am asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to work with the department to conduct a thorough investigation to determine if any child in the state's care has been victimized," DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth said.

"Mr. Zimmerman's alleged conduct is an egregious breach of the public trust and will not be tolerated."
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