Local prosecutors are considering seeking federal charges against a Slapout man who now faces state child pornography charges.
Edward Lee Bodkin, 68, of 8400 Holtville Road, is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, said Sheriff Bill Franklin. He remains in the county jail under bonds totaling $400,000, jail records show.
Bodkin also has a history of performing human castrations on willing men.
Even seasoned investigators find the case disturbing, Franklin said.
"He'll sit down and talk with you about it like he's talking about the weather," the sheriff said. "In all my years in law enforcement, I don't recall a case like this."
Federal charges would mean Bodkin faces a stiffer penalty upon conviction, said District Attorney Randall Houston.
"In the federal system they can have him tried well before the case would come up in state court," he said. "Also he would be looking at a heavier sentence in the federal system. I want to see him put away as long as possible. Whether it's in a federal prison or a state prison, it doesn't make any difference to me."
News of the bizarre nature of the case has the Holtville/Slapout community unsettled.
"I read about this in the paper and just shook my head," said Pete Coleman, who lives in Holtville near Bodkin's home. "It really makes you wonder just who, and what, you have living next door."
Bodkin was arrested last week after sheriff's investigators searched his home. Bodkin could not be reached for comment. Courthouse records show he doesn't have an attorney.
The local case began when Bodkin mailed a letter to an inmate in a Massachusetts prison, Franklin said. The letter detailed what Bodkin has done with children, including an alleged encounter of a sexual nature he had with a month-and-a-half-old infant, Houston said.
Officials at the prison read the letter before delivering it to the inmate, and contacted the sheriff's office, Franklin said.
"The letter's seven pages long and is just horrendous," said Terry Ward, the sheriff office's chief investigator. "Whether what's in the letter is the truth, fantasy or fiction, it's horrible. The letter says what he likes to do with children in a sexual context."
Along with alleged items of child pornography, investigators found castration equipment during the search of Bodkin's home, Houston said.
In 1999, Bodkin was convicted in Illinois of practicing medicine without a license, Houston said. An Internet search turned up a March 15, 1999, Reuters article that tells how Bodkin was convicted in Huntington County, Ill., of performing castrations on willing men. The men came to Bodkin's home where he administered a local anesthetic and performed the procedures.
He videotaped the castrations and displayed the preserved testicles in jars in his home, the Reuters piece read. He was known as a "cutter" or underground surgical practitioner.
An Associated Press report that ran in the Orlando Sentinel after Bodkin's February 1999 arrest said his roommate informed police about his activities after Bodkin told the roommate he wanted to castrate young boys.
Possession of castration tools is not against the law.
More charges against Bodkin may be pending, Ward said.
"We got hundreds of DVDs and videotapes out of his house," Ward said. "There are pictures of castrated men and photos and videos of castrations. It's going to take us some time to go through everything."
Evidence collected at the house showed a man had made arrangements to have Bodkin castrate him several weeks ago, but cancelled due to his work obligations, Houston said.
"They had set up another appointment for Labor Day," Houston said. "I don't think that's an appointment that will be kept, because if I have anything to do about it, Bodkin is going to stay in jail until his trial."