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Child Porn Suspect Out on Bail

Community leader was charged with possession of child pornography in January

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Jay Lockett Sears, a 73-year-old philanthropist and owner of the architectural firm Sears & Sears, shocked the West Hampton and Quogue communities last month when he was charged with possession of child pornography. Sears was released on bail Friday.

Sears was known for his dedication to children through his non-profit organization Mission of Kindness. He allegedly took photos of young girls and superimposed their faces on pornographic materials, a practice known as “morphing.” The photos were found in a trash container, and an investigation found that they originated from Sears’ East Moriches home. Authorities say they have managed to identify some of the children in the photos.

Sears’ release came after three bail hearings, and he was released on a $250,000 bond. Sears was ordered by Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson to have a mental health evaluation.

Sears was known as a community leader and his architectural firm has designed houses for celebrities such as Michael J. Fox and Clint Eastwood. He was also known for helping the homeless in the 1990s.

Sears could be seen in his local ads for Mission of Kindness, in which he would be wearing a white suit and angel wings. He frequently asked editors and other community leaders to help a 12-year-old girl who had undergone surgery. He said the girl had a “bright, beautiful light.”

In a report from the Westhampton-Hampton Bays Patch, many community members said they were “shocked” and “disillusioned” when they first heard of the allegations. "As for the families of these children, it's a heartbreaker... This saddens and sickens me at the same time,” said one Speonk resident.

However, not everyone that knew Sears was surprised by the allegations. One man that recalls hearing Sears speak to his elementary school class said he was “just plain creepy.”

Sears is currently under house arrest and is not allowed to have any contact with children.

 

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