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Florida man accused of molesting boy he was fostering

Police were tipped off when someone gave them a USB drive that belonged to the suspect.

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A Clearwater man was charged Thursday with possessing child porn and of molesting a boy he was foster parenting, Pinellas Park police said.

Robert E. Metzner, 69, was arrested Thursday.

Police said someone gave them a USB drive that belonged to Metzner. After obtaining a warrant, investigators found the drive contained 160 images of child porn.

They got a search warrant for his home and seized several electronic devices. They will be searched for more evidence.

Meanwhile, investigators followed up on an allegation by an 8-year-old boy who Metzner was fostering in December. The boy said while bathing, Metzner touched his private parts with a washcloth several times.

Investigators said Metzner made comments that corroborated the boy's statements.

The boy was fostered by Metzner for one week through the Eckerd Cares child foster care process, police said.

Chris Card of Eckerd Cares said Metzner was a licensed foster parent for only four months. 

"All of our foster parents are put through required training and background checks and must be cleared before they can be licensed and receive children. Only 2 children were placed in his home during this time, the children were not in the home at the same time," Card said in a statement.

"There was a complaint in December and the child was removed the same day. The investigation of this complaint by Child Protection Investigators came back with no indication of abuse or neglect and no concerns with the foster parent. A second child was placed in the home in March for a few days and a second concern was raised. The child was immediately removed and the home was closed in April. The second complaint was also investigated and it is indicated that there were no findings of abuse but that complaint has not been closed as of this date."

Metzner was charged with 12 counts of possessing child pornography and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. He is being held in the Pinellas County Jail.

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