Florida man, 70, accused of sex abuse at home day care center

Booking image for John Ernst Tennant Jr.

A 70-year-old owner of a north Florida child care business has been charged with sexual battery after investigators spotted the image of a child who may have been in his care in a batch of 5,000 child pornography images found at his home.

John Ernst Tennant Jr. was arrested Saturday after police found a Nov. 12, 2001 photograph that showed a young girl in a playpen with a man, who was the apparent photographer, abusing her, the Gainesville Sun reported.

Investigators showed a “sanitized” version of the photograph to Tennant’s wife, who “tentatively” identified the toddler as a child they took care of in the past, police said.

A from the camera showed it was the same one used to photograph the inside of the Tennant’s home.

Tennant has been charged with 12 counts of child pornography possession.

The couple ran a child care center from their home from 1985 until 2016. It was called Miss Lynn’s Daycare and later Tennant Family Home Daycare, police said.

Police searched the Tennant’s home after getting a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a Facebook account linked to Tennant had uploaded and shared child porn.

Tennant told investigators he didn’t have child porn or access to Facebook. But police said they found thousands of images of child porn on his computer and more on 3.5” floppy drives. The images were mostly prepubescent children and dated back to 1996, the newspaper reported.