By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Reports and pretrial testimony in the case show that Groves and federal investigators were hopeful that the Bredimus arrest would provide them a window into wider child-porn circles. Deep in U.S. Customs files was a record that an "N. Bredimus" was listed on a mailing label of a package of child porn intercepted on the way into the United States from Denmark.
While the tapes and testimony indicated Bredimus gratified himself during the molestations in Thailand, he went to great lengths to get it all down on tape and digital stills. Most child porn distributed today is trafficked in digital form over the Internet. "It appeared as if he was staging it," U.S. Customs Special Agent Brian McGaha testified during a bond hearing. "[Bredimus] would molest the child, get up, readjust the camera and zoom in to another part of the child's body. He would also stop during various stages of the molestation and take what appeared to be digital pictures."
Child-porn consumers tend to be compulsive, urgently collecting large numbers of images, he said. So shortly after the feds filed a sealed complaint in Dallas in early February last year, they went after Bredimus' computers.
"We didn't find anything," Groves says. Which is not to say it never existed. "He's technically very sophisticated," she said. He had plenty of time to tidy up.
Since 1998, Bredimus has owned a home in a seaside village in Maui valued at more than $750,000. He was there when federal agents arrested him in late February. Deemed to be wealthy enough to pose a travel risk, federal judges denied him bond in two heavily contested hearings. Last spring, agents transferred him from Hawaii to a federal detention facility in Seagoville.
In Hawaii, Bredimus told U.S. authorities that he wasn't going back to Thailand because he "had already paid too many bribes" and wasn't going to pay more. Bredimus, who today is incarcerated in a federal prison in Kentucky, did not respond at the time of publication to a written request for an interview or to a series of written questions about the claim that he'd forked over bribes.
Mills says Bredimus was referring to the practice of paying jailers for bond hearings. "You get arrested over there, and apparently you have to pay the jailer for the bond hearing. If you don't have money, they say, 'Hey, I'll take you to the cash machine.' At least that's his allegation." Groves says there is no evidence of corruption in the case, and that the defense had done nothing in court to prove those allegations.
As he began preparing his defense, Mills says, he began to think, "Maybe they are corrupt. Maybe they won't come over here to trial. They didn't follow their book on him in Thailand, but the question was, 'Did he violate U.S. law?'"
That question would be answered loud and clear if Groves, using Thai witnesses to establish the necessary chain of custody, could get the videotape and stills into evidence, Mills says. "It's 30 minutes of Mr. Bredimus having sex with underage boys. If that's in evidence, there's gonna be outrage. The jury is gonna want to kill me, and somebody's going to prison."
Bredimus Systems, with its worldwide net of consultants selling software to the battered, post-September 11 airline industry, changed its name last October to Airlogica Corp. and reorganized with new officers and a new board. It isn't clear whether ownership of the privately held company has also changed.
"It's been a difficult year, to say the least," says David Harms, the company's new Atlanta-based president. He declined further comment, except to ask when this story would be published. "We'll hear about it, I'm sure," he said.
Harms, testifying at a hearing in Dallas last spring, said Bredimus "primarily is the business in terms of both personality as well as his contacts, his knowledge. He's built the systems, designed them, basically architected them." It took "Nick" 10 years to establish his software in the marketplace, sell it and support it, Harms said. "He is well-regarded in what we do."
A University of Phoenix graduate, Bredimus married a Phoenix clinical psychologist, and they had one son, Jason, now 33. About 15 years ago, they divorced, and Bredimus remarried. In the mid-1990s, he, his second wife, Kyong, and her two children, now college-age, moved into a spacious creek-side home in an executive-class subdivision of Coppell.
In this neighborhood, he was perceived as considerate and cordial, although several neighbors say he was rarely home and not part of the street's child-centered social life. When he was in town, he was known to leave for work at 6 a.m.
Bredimus had no criminal history and only a shred of evidence to suggest he lived life off the square. At a 1999 meeting of airline executives in Los Angeles, one of Bredimus' former co-workers at AMR called him "shady" and "unscrupulous" in front of several potential clients. Bredimus, who called the man a "wanker" in response, sued for defamation. Before the legal contretemps got very far, the two sides reached a mediated settlement.