tampabay.com

Charges build against former swim coach

The onetime Tampa Prep instructor now faces 19 felony counts.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE
Published February 23, 2007


TAMPA - A former private school swim coach who's accused of secretly filming nude girls will face heavier criminal charges.

Kimberly Brabson III, 29, is now facing 19 felony counts in addition to the 10 original misdemeanor charges, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Police say Brabson hid a camera in his office at Tampa Preparatory School and videotaped young female students as they undressed and tried on bathing suits at his request.

The charges bring the total number of victims to 18. The girls, who were 10 to 15 years old at the time, are identified in court documents only by their initials.

Brabson will face felony charges of "promotion of a sexual performance by a child less than 18 years of age," prosecutors said. Those charges will be added to the misdemeanor charges of video voyeurism. Prosecutors also are adding an 11th misdemeanor charge.

Prosecutors attributed the added charges to "new information" in the case, according to a statement by Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi. She declined to elaborate.

Brabson's attorney, Eddie Suarez, said he was unaware of any new information in the case.

The news came a week after Clearwater lawyer Tom Carey met with prosecutors to discuss the matter.

Carey, whose two daughters have sued Brabson and the school, had publicly questioned why Brabson did not face felony charges, which have a longer statute of limitations and carry steeper penalties.

In the meeting, the attorneys discussed the "sexual performance" statute, he said.

Someone can face a "sexual performance" charge if that person films a child for sexual purposes, even if the child isn't doing a sexual act, Carey said.

He was pleased by the added charges.

"I perceive this office to have been very careful and deliberative in their approach, but in the end, they've come down on the right side of justice," Carey said.

Brabson will be required to turn himself in to jail, police said. Bail will be set at $5,000 per added charge, his attorney said.

Times staff writer Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report. Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 813 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.