JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after a federal judge sentenced Duane Sikes to 10 years in prison for embezzling millions of dollars from Vystar Credit Union, a clear picture has emerged as to why the judge chose to upgrade his sentence after testimony alleging child pornography was also brought up in court.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reports obtained by News4Jax reveal officers were called multiple times to investigate Sikes on child pornography complaints starting nearly 10 years ago.
The calls to JSO concerning Sikes date back to 2010 from various people who said Sikes was routinely inviting young boys over to his house to swim in his pool and was either photographing them nude or exchanging sex for money, drugs or alcohol. The reports also accused Sikes of intimidating the minors to keep them quiet.
Three men who testified in federal court Thursday and Monday echoed what was in the reports, saying they were sexually abused by Sikes at his home when they were between 13 and 17 years old.
Sikes, 65, never directly responded to the accusations during his two-day sentencing hearing, but denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer. He has not been charged with crimes related to child pornography or child molestation.
In 2010, JSO was alerted that Sikes "may be conducting child pornography at his residence," on Shirley Avenue, according to an informational report, but the report was never followed up on.
In 2013, an anonymous person called JSO's call center saying Sikes was offering beer to young boys, or giving them money or drugs in exchange for sexual acts. The caller said Sikes was recording the sexual acts and sending the images to Australia and California, according to the report.
In 2015, an officer was flagged down and asked to investigate Sikes for inviting teenage boys to swim in his pool with no clothes on.
JSO contacted the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office and a search of porn sites was conducted but no connection to Sikes was ever found.
The teens testified in federal court that all of Sikes' victims were afraid to talk because Sikes threatened to send "enforcers" that would harm the boys if they went to police.
Federal prosecutors ultimately said that because of the statute of limitations, and the delay of the allegations being made, they could not get a warrant to search Sikes' home.
Records show that JSO was contacted about Sikes and the abuse of young boys at least six times.
U.S. District Judge Brian Davis said he believed the testimony of the men, now in their 20s, when he went against the recommended sentence of up to five years in prison.
Sikes plead guilty to one count of mail fraud, embezzlement of $6.8 million in funds from VyStar and income tax fraud, officially starting his 10-year prison sentence Monday, but an appeal could be coming.