A 62-year-old drifter’s violent reaction to having photographs taken of his unusual bicycle has led to the man being jailed on child pornography charges.
The story began around 10:16 a.m. on Nov. 13, when Apalachicola Police Officer Timothy Davis was dispatched to Avenue D to follow-up on the complaint of a 47-year-old Indian Pass man, who said he had been doused with pepper spray after he tried to photograph an unusual looking, bearded man on a tall bicycle.
The man told the officer that when he pulled over to photograph the man, he was sprayed, and that he had a photo of the man spraying him.
Davis went to investigate, and and located the man at the library. The officer talked to the man, who admitted what he had done.
“He stated that he knew why I was there,” Davis wrote in his report. “He stated that he sprayed the man out of reaction to seeing him with a camera.”
Davis then arrested Patrick J. McGovern, 62, of Minneapolis, Minn., on a battery charge.
The matter likely would have ended there had McGovern not offered Davis and Apalachicola Chief Bobby Varnes a plan to pay his $1,000 bond.
According to Brett Johnson, investigator with the sheriff’s office, McGovern told the officers that he had bail money in his RV, and that if he could bond out, he would leave town.
Varnes told McGovern that police officials would have to accompany McGovern on a return visit to this RV.
Johnson said McGovern responded by saying that it was OK with him if they followed him inside his vehicle, but cautioned them not to be alarmed when they entered the recreational vehicle because he was a “naturalist,” a term often used to describe nudists. He also advised the officers that the camper contained several nude photographs, Johnson said.
When the officers escorted McGovern to his camper, parked near 10 Foot Hole, they observed an extensive collection of photographs of nude minor children.
“They were everywhere, every cabinet, every wall, every ceiling, everywhere,” said Johnson. “There was not an inch of that camper that did not have a nude photograph on it.”
The vehicle was later towed to the sheriff’s office where two search warrants were executed. After the execution of the warrants McGovern was charged Friday with 10 counts of child pornography, which are second degree felonies.
Because they are felonies, investigators are empowered to obtain a DNA sample that could be used to determine if McGovern is connected with any unsolved crimes. Johnson took steps Monday to pursue the DNA sampling.
“We are still getting information about his past,” said Assistant State Attorney Robin Myers, noting that it appeared the man had traveled extensively throughout the United States and Central America.
Johnson said evidence was obtained in the searches that indicated McGovern had used aliases in the past, including Patricio Juan Pedro, the name he used to sign in at the library to use the computers there.
Myers said that while it was not clear whether the photographs depict children engaged in sexual acts, they are suggestive of sexual behaviors.
“We are still trying to determine whether the images meet the definition of child pornography,” he said.