(UPI) -- A South Florida man is defending himself in court after being charged with taking pornographic photographs of his three young daughters and sharing them by saying that the photos are standard family portraits for a nudist family.
A grand jury didn’t agree with the assessment of Brian Martens and voted to indict the 53-year-old on one count of producing child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bill Matthewman viewed the photographs during a hearing Wednesday in federal court in West Palm Beach.
"Several of these photos the court has reviewed are lascivious. … They are, in the court's opinion, sexually explicit," Matthewman said.
Martens is being held without bail because he is a flight risk and he poses "a clear risk of danger to the community, and specifically to his daughters."
According to prosecutors, the girls were between ages 8 and 12 when the photographs were taken.
James Eisenberg, Marten's attorney, said that his client hired a professional family photographer to take the shots while he was living at a nudist colony.
"The girls have no clothes on … but they're not doing anything of a sexual nature," Eisenberg said. "If they were young ladies who had clothing on, no one would consider them pornographic. Totally nude … is the normal state of all the people who live there. In the context that everybody in this family are naturists … these photos are not lewd or pornographic in any way."
Martens' attorney did, however, agree that one photo the judge described as a closeup of a girl's genital area, to be pornographic, but claimed Martens did not know the shot was taken and did not give permission for such a photo.
But federal agents found that this was not the case.
Homeland Security Investigations agents took notice of Martens earlier this year when they found the photos of his daughters on a computer belonging to Leslie Vanaman, 44, a neighbor in the private Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort in Loxahatchee Groves.
The owner of A Shade of Grey Photography, who billed himself as a family portrait photographer despite a seeming reference to the popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey, is serving 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges, including photographs of the Martens girls.
Agents discovered Martens had signed numerous releases and received and shared numerous pornographic images of children. Investigators also uncovered emails between Martens, the photographer and another man discussing the photographer's "craft" and "the sensuality and sexuality" of the images.
Martens, who has pleaded not guilty, is facing between 15 and 30 years in federal prison if convicted of the child porn production charge, and five to 20 years if convicted of receiving child pornography.