A Texas man was arrested Friday after he was accused of raping at least 15 children.
KHOU reported that Tad Costin, 42, is accused of sexually assaulting female children between the ages of 4 and 7 years old, deputies said.
During a search of Costin’s Pearland home, investigators found six hard drives and 80 CDs and DVDs, all containing child pornography. Police believe all of the graphic images found so far were taken inside the suspect’s former residence near Clear Lake.
Costin was living with his girlfriend and her 5-year-old son at the time of his arrest. Police say his girlfriend’s parents found a computer memory card in their home which contained images of Costin assaulting children.
The photos show multiple children dressed in Disney nightgowns, asleep or possibly drugged while Costin engages them in sexual acts.
“They’re disturbing,” Kathryn Kahle with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office told KTRK. “The images are clearly of the defendant engaging in sexual conduct with these young girls, various girls. We still believe we have around 15 unidentified victims at this time.”
Investigators with Liberty County and Harris County’s Crimes Against Children Task Force said the case began when the parents of Costin’s girlfriend turned over the images to police on Oct. 20.
There are conflicting reports about how far back Costin’s alleged abuse takes place. KTRK says the alleged sexual acts with victims dates back as far as 1999, while KHOU claims it is as far back as 1990.
“We are trying to determine who these girls are, there are no children that we know of that this defendant, they are not relatives,” Kahle said.
Andrew Barker, who rents Costin’s old home where the alleged activities took place, told KHOU he was “shaking” at the news.
“It’s scary as s**t to be honest, that someone that can be a friend like that can go off and do such disgusting things,” Barker said.
On Costin’s personal website, he mentioned having two children that he is estranged from.
“Unfortunately paths in our lives have separated me from them and I have not been able to be a big part of their lives,” Costin wrote.
He also lamented not being married.
“Takes a thoughtful person to get through my shell and learn who I am,” he wrote.
Costin’s girlfriend, Julia Lack — a former Playboy playmate — is being called a person of interest in the case, according to investigators. Police are also looking into who is behind the camera in the photos taken.
“Some of them might have been taken by the defendant himself with timers and or computer equipment, but we are also looking into who might be filming and taking those pictures as well,” Kahle said.
More possible victims have come forward since the arrest, prosecutors said.
A woman who wished to remains anonymous spoke to KHOU about her time dating Costin in 2010, when he allegedly sexually assaulted her child.
The woman, who goes by the name Jane, was hired by Costin to clean his apartment and often encouraged her to bring her 5-year-old daughter over, she said.
“He always referred to her as ‘his little girl,’” Jane said.
On her fifth visit to the suspect’s house, Jane was cleaning downstairs and something made her go upstairs. That’s when she saw him on top of her daughter.
“He was thrusting on my daughter and had her legs open,” she said.
Jane called police after grabbing her daughter and running from the home. Costin was charged with indecency with a child. That charge was eventually dropped, however, due to a lack of evidence.
Her daughter, now 9, is in therapy and never told her mother exactly what happened that day. Jane said her daughter recognized Costin from recent news reports.
“She slumped down on the couch,” Jane said. “She acted really scared.”
Costin currently faces four charges of sexual assault of a child. Prosecutors said additional charges are possible.
“I think they should give him the death penalty,” Jane said.