By Kevin Deutsch
A Coral Springs gastroenterologist was arrested for a second time this week for exchanging sexually explicit Snapchat messages, photographs, and video with underage girls, authorities said.
Stewart Bitman, 64, of Parkland was arrested Tuesday on charges of transmitting harmful materials to a minor; using a computer for child exploitation; promoting a sexual performance by a child; and four counts of lewd or lascivious exhibition, records show.
No bond amount was listed for Bitman’s case, but records show he was not being held at any Broward jails late Wednesday.
Bitman was first arrested by authorities in January for sending sexual text messages and nude photos of himself to a 13-year-old child, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
In an arrest affidavit, BSO Detective Jennifer Montgomery described Bitman’s latest crimes as a continuation of his earlier, illegal activities conducted online in 2020.
“Bitman had been using his Snapchat account to communicate with hundreds of people who identify themselves as minors between 12 and 14 years old,” wrote Montgomery, a member of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “In many cases, Bitman identified himself as a teenage old boy named “Matt” who attends a local high school.”
On April 13, 2021, after being served with a search warrant, Snapchat provided authorities with the contents of Bitman’s account, records show. It contained chat conversations that Bitman conducted with hundreds of people who identified themselves as minor children, Montgomery said.
Montgomery said she found approximately 1,729 messages exchanged during chats with Bitman between May 12, 2020, and June 7, 2020. There were also media files exchanged during the chats that included pictures and voice memos.
Among the communications were messages from Bitman to an underage girl, who said she had sent him sexually explicit pictures and videos at his request in exchange for money. Bitman, pretending to be a 17-year-old boy, never sent her the money, the girl told investigators.
The Snapchat records revealed other illicit chats Bitman had with underage girls in 2020, authorities said. He sometimes received sexually explicit images or videos from the minors in exchange for promises of money, which they never received, the records show.
Bitman could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
Authorities ask anyone who believes their child may have been a victim of Bitman’s to call BSO or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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