Photog called a loner

Thu, August 26, 2004

MATTEO CARUSO'S family and lawyer say the amateur photographer accused of taking unwelcome pictures of children at the CNE is a hard-working loner with few social skills and almost no friends. "He's a good boy ... I do my best for him," his father, Salvadore Caruso, 66, of Scarborough, said as he waited in the Old City Hall courthouse yesterday for his son, who police said has no criminal record.


Police said the 42-year-old was arrested on Sunday after CNE visitors complained of a man taking photos of children without their parents' permission. Sgt. Bob Guglick suffered a bruised elbow before the burly suspect was subdued by citizens and police officers, including Chief Julian Fantino.

"He was trying to erase the images on his digital camera," 14 Division Det. Fred Monaghan said outside the court.

By yesterday, police sex experts had examined about three-quarters of items seized, including computer equipment from Caruso's home on Flycatcher Ave., and found no evidence of child pornography, Monaghan told the Toronto Sun.

During a court recess, Caruso's lawyer, George Kuzmicz, said he will argue the arrest on a mischief charge was improper and other charges of resisting arrest and possessing prohibited weapons, plus any future allegations after the search of Caruso's files "are unreasonable."


His client saw a psychiatrist 10 years ago "and the Crown said he has unresolved issues, but I don't see any relevance," Kuzmicz said. "There's a heightened awareness about children's safety ... but I don't know it's an offence to do what he did with a camera."

Caruso was released on a $5,000 unposted surety and ordered not to have cameras in public and avoid young children.

Outside court, Fred Caruso said of his older brother: "He's as harmless as a fly, but people jump to conclusions ... He's not a pedophile."

He said police grabbed Matteo on Pape Ave. years ago "in a case of mistaken identity, he is afraid of police."