LAWRENCEVILLE — The attorney for an Atlanta CEO pinned to a Gwinnett child-trafficking case said his client “vigorously denies” the allegations and pointed to what he called fishy police work.
Monroe-based attorney Eric Crawford issued a statement Thursday on behalf of Peter Privateer, 56, the CEO and president of Reflex Systems, who was arrested this week on child molestation charges.
Crawford said his client, whose lucrative career earned him an address in Sugarloaf Country Club, is a devoted husband and father of three. Privateer had no idea he was wanted until Gwinnett police showed up at his door with a warrant Tuesday night, the attorney said.
Privateer remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond, pending a probable cause hearing Thursday. Crawford said his client’s company deals with computer and network security software.
“(Privateer) wants to get into court so that he can clear his good name,” Crawford said.
Police believe Privateer paid $600 to have sex with a 12-year-old girl at a Duluth Days Inn in March 2008. The meeting was arranged by the girl’s alleged pimp, Marcelo Desautu, 38, who supplied her with money and drugs in exchange for sex, police said.
The girl, now 15, recently made an outcry to Cobb County authorities and detailed the alleged rendezvous in Duluth, which sparked the involvement of Gwinnett police. She told police she was allowed to keep $200 of what Desautu charged.
Crawford contends that police acted prematurely in arresting Privateer, relying “on information from witnesses with long criminal histories” and “individuals who think they may be able to profit by leveling these accusations at a prominent businessman,” he said.
Police said investigators have phone records that show Privateer was in contact with Desautu during the time in question, and that the victim picked Privateer — whom she knew as “Pete” — from a photo line-up.
Crawford called the case lacking in physical evidence and questioned why it took three years to create a police report.
Both Gwinnett and Cobb authorities have issued warrants charging Desautu, the alleged pimp, with child molestation and other counts related to child-trafficking. Crawford said Desautu has been incarcerated at the Cobb County Jail since last year.