UPDATE: Monday, January 28, 4 p.m.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Gary Brown ordered that Mr. Sears remain in custody during a hearing on Monday afternoon after his defense attorney, Mr. Barker, failed to provide the court with a bail package—which would include an official request for bail and an accounting of Mr. Sears’s finances.
During the hearing on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode, who is prosecuting the case, told the court that, so far, all images found in Mr. Sears’s apartment were morphed images and it was not believed he has any pictures of him actually performing inappropriate acts on children or other inappropriate photos of children. However, Mr. Bode said the investigation was continuing.
Mr. Bode, who spoke for approximately two minutes during the five-minute hearing, also said that investigators have had success in identifying many of the children represented in the pornographic images, and he will soon be seeking orders of protection for the children, whose families will be notified soon.
An order of detention, which was originally issued on Friday when U.S. District Magistrate Arlene R. Lindsay described Mr. Sears as a flight risk and a risk to the community, will remain in place under Judge Brown’s order, until another bail hearing can be scheduled at the request of Mr. Barker, or until trial. Federal prosecutors have asked that Mr. Sears remain in custody in a federal jail in Nassau County, without the possibility of bail.
The bail package, in which the defense would ask that Mr. Sears be released on a certain amount of bail—was to outline to the court what Mr. Sears could afford to pay, and what the defense thought would be a reasonable amount. It is unclear why Mr. Sears’s attorney did not present the bail request.
On Monday morning, Mr. Nardoza confirmed that the prosecution now has 30 days to bring Mr. Sears before a grand jury for possible indictment. Currently, he is being held for possession of child pornography, but an indictment might include additional charges. Mr. Nardoza also said that Mr. Sears could possibly face separate charges for each child found in the hundreds of images seized. It is unclear at this time how many counts of possession of child pornography Mr. Sears could face.
Mr. Sears, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, did not address the court at the hearing on Monday. Afterwards, a friend of Mr. Sears, David Glover of Yaphank—the only person in attendance in support of Mr. Sears—said that he was shocked about the charges leveled against his friend. Mr. Glover, who has known Mr. Sears for 25 years, declined to speak specifically about the charges, but said that he cannot believe that Mr. Sears would hurt anyone.
“I have never known him to hurt anyone,” Mr. Glover told reporters. “I think he needs support—Jay has helped many people in the community so I felt compelled to be here for him.”
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
Jay Sears was arraigned at 3 p.m. Friday in federal court in Central Islip on one count of possession of child pornography. He did not enter a plea.
U.S. District Magistrate Arlene R. Lindsay declined to set bail, stating that Mr. Sears is a “danger to the community and young children.” She added that she believes Mr. Sears to be a flight risk.
Mr. Sears, who was wearing beige slacks, a blue sweater, a tan jacket and a green scarf and carrying his cane, did not speak during his arraignment. He will return to the same court at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 28, to revisit the bail issue.
His attorney, Daniel Barker of Riverhead, declined to speak with reporters after the arraignment.
East End architect Jay Lockett Sears, founder of the Mission of Kindness organization in Quogue that benefits troubled families, was arrested Friday morning at his home on charges related to possession of child pornography, representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have confirmed.
Mr. Sears, 73, was arrested at his East Moriches apartment by investigators with both the FBI and the Suffolk County Police Department’s Computer Crimes Squad for allegedly having in his possession images of identifiable minors superimposed on the bodies of adults and performing sexual acts, according to a copy of the complaint.
The complaint states that on or about January 11, 2013, a man whose identity was withheld by investigators contacted the Suffolk County Police Department after discovering the pornographic materials while emptying a Dumpster at the Brookhaven Town dump transfer station in Brookhaven. An experienced child pornography investigator, identified in the complaint as Detective Rory Forrestal, examined the materials “and immediately recognized them to be similar to materials from a prior SCPD investigation of the defendant JAY LOCKETT SEARS in approximately 2007.”