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Former porn actor flashed at children in Qormi supermarket, court told

Police find child porn at man's apartment

A former porn actor who allegedly exposed his penis to two children at a local supermarket has been remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to defilement of the minors.

Stevan Karanovic, a 57-year old Serb residing at Rabat, stands accused of having flashed two girls who were standing at the cheese counter of a Qormi supermarket last Saturday. Police searching his apartment also found child porn photos and videos, some involving newborns.

Mr Karanovic was arrested and arraigned on Monday over charges of defilement, the production, acquisition or circulation of indecent material involving minors as well as with having been naked or indecently dressed in public.

Prosecuting Inspector Roxanne Tabone from the Vice Squad explained how last Saturday afternoon police at Qormi station informed her that an alleged flasher was exposing himself to children at a supermarket in the town.

One of the girls had allegedly told her mother not to look back because “there is an old man with his penis out.”

The child’s parents had alerted supermarket management, which stepped in and held the suspect until police arrived.

The following day, the two girls, who are cousins, spoke to the police in the presence of their parents. They recalled how they had been standing at the cheese counter when a stranger had lifted his shorts to reveal his penis.

When the parents looked his way, he quickly covered himself up with a bag, the girls said.Children don’t threaten or shout, they don’t do any harm. They just laugh or look in disgust- Accused

The man had allegedly followed them around the supermarket for some minutes, repeating his indecent gesture whenever they looked in his direction.

The suspect, who is allegedly a member of a nudist group, admitted to police that he “had felt the need to show himself,” Inspector Tabone told the court.

“I cannot explain it,” Mr Karanovic had answered when asked why he had done so in front of the children but not their parents.

“Children don’t threaten or shout, they don’t do any harm. They just laugh or look in disgust,” the man had later explained. He is alleged to have also admitted to other such incidents over the past three years since he moved to Malta.

When police searched his apartment in Rabat, they found a considerable store of pornographic material of all kinds, including images and videos involving children, even newborns.

A number of CDs, pen drives and a computer tower taken from the man’s residence were exhibited by the prosecution, together with a small leather bag which the culprit had allegedly used to cover himself at the time of the supermarket incident.

Inspector Tabone also declared how the man had first told police that he had ventured into child porn “just out of curiosity,” later admitting that he was a collector of porn as well as a porn star back home,. That claim was borne out by certain movies among those found by investigators at his residence.

A request for bail was turned down after Inspector Shaun Ferriggi, also prosecuting, explained that the man had no fixed ties in Malta and had changed address several times. Moreover, the risk of absconding was a real one especially since a ticket to Croatia had been discovered in the man’s possession.

In view of this possibility of absconding, the court, presided over by magistrate Audrey Demicoli, turned down the request for bail and also pronounced a ‘prima facie’ decree before adjourning the case to September.

The court further ordered a ban on publication of the names of the minors.

“Nobody suffered because of me. I made a mistake,” the man had tried to explain at the start of the hearing, finally covering his face and shaking his head as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace was legal aid counsel.

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