Before moving to Middle Tennessee to work as an after-school specialist with the YMCA, the Gallatin man arrested in a child pornography sting last month apparently also worked as a YMCA staffer in Florida for more than 10 years.
Despite one anonymous tip concerning alleged inappropriate sexual behavior of the YMCA staff member, no action was apparently taken. In fact, Daniel Quail, 33, was well regarded enough in Sarasota County, Fla., to be the subject of a 477-word profile in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
The piece, “Inspiring faith at the YMCA,” focuses heavily on Quail's Christianity, his work sharing that message with children, and his own religious development. At the time interview, the defendant was working with a YMCA in the Sarasota County town of Venice.
“I firmly believe, as do all our volunteers and counselors, that talking about the link between the body, the Bible and the soul will enhance the kids' character and foster respect for other people,” Quail is quoted as saying in the article. “The Bible does say the body is the temple of God and we should take care of it. I simply want to encourage the kids that I look after to build upon that lesson.”
His own faith developed while he was “struggling with normal, everyday teenage issues,” was another comment attributed to Quail in the story.
The City Paper obtained a copy of the June 20, 2009 article, which takes on added significance following a federal court hearing Wednesday that brought to light new details on Quail's alleged relationship with a young Florida boy.
In addition, Florida authorities confirmed Thursday night they had received information that Quail was engaged in inappropriate activity as early as March 2008.
On Wednesday morning, Quail appeared in federal court here for a detention hearing where authorities testified regarding the evidence against him. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jonathan Hendrix testified about what authorities seized from Quail's apartment, according to U.S. Attorney S. Carran Daughtrey.
“They retrieved a computer and a hard drive and some other electronic media,” Daughtrey said. “The forensics on it is underway, but there is a preliminary report that indicates that there are more than 5,000 images of child pornography and 500 videos of child pornography. Those are primarily of prepubescent boys engaged in sexual activity.”
In addition, the authorities said that they had uncovered documents that indicate Quail was interested in adopting a 6-year-old Ohio boy, she added.
Agents also testified that hanging on one wall of Quail's apartment were eight non-pornographic photos arranged in a circle, each depicting the same young boy, Daughtrey said. The prepubescent boy has been identified as Devin, the agent testified, a boy from the Venice, Fla.-area.
According to Daughtrey, authorities believe Quail met the boy in an after-school program. The child's mother told investigators her son and Quail got along well at first, but then later the child no longer wanted to see the man.
“The mother knew something had happened and took him out of the program,” Daughtrey said. “The defendant hasn't seen or talked to this boy in two years.”
But the boy appears to still have been a fixation in Quail's life. Besides the eight pictures arranged on the apartment wall, Canadian investigators originally found a password-protected folder among Quail's shared child pornography titled “My son Devin.”
On Wednesday, Hendrix testified that the folder contained non-pornographic photos of the boy and pornographic photos of an adult male and young boy engaged in sexual activity, Daughtrey said. The heads of the figures are cut off in the pictures but investigators are working to identify the depicted individuals.
Representatives from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, the program’s branch in Sarasota County, could not confirm by Thursday evening whether or not Quail volunteered with the program or had contact with a child named Devin.
Kenneth Modzelewski, the president and CEO of Quail's former employer, the South County Family YMCA, also did not confirm whether or not the defendant had any contact with the boy through one of the organization's programs.
“The safety of the families and children is my first and foremost concern,” he said in an e-mail reply. “As this is an ongoing investigation and until I know all of the facts from the investigating parties, I will not be commenting on this at this time.”
Quail was brought to the attention of law enforcement during his time in Florida, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. The office received an anonymous tip that Quail was involved in inappropriate behavior in March 2008, according to Wendy Rose, the department spokesperson.
She said the information, which offered no specifics, came to the department through the National Clearinghouse for Missing Children, a national network of local missing-children programs.
“We looked into it at the time and felt the best way to handle it was to share it with other law enforcement entities through the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), which is operated by the Attorney General's office,” Rose said.
Since Quail's arrest in Tennessee, the Sarasota office followed up on the information it provided ICAC and learned that no investigation was launched following the tip, Rose said. She also said the office did not have any details on whether Sheriff's Department staff or federal investigators ever interviewed Quail following the tip.