Cruise line owner James Dickson Bell II was a native of Akron Ohio. He and his wife lived the high life in an 18-room mansion, were members of the country club along with being well-connected socialites.
By the time Bell, the son of a rubber factory worker, was 35 he had become chairman of the the multimillion dollar manufacturing firm Portage Machine Co.
That was the James Dickson Bell II he wanted law enforcement to know. Another James Dickson Bell II living under an alias, Jim Pepper, had an apartment in the ghetto. In 1977, police would learn terrible things happened in that apartment at the hands of a local socialite.
He picked up poor kids off the street, luring them with the money that kept him in high society, offering $5 to $15 to the child, if they would just come visit with him.
The visit entailed naked photos, sexual assault and the production of child pornography. When police arrested Bell, he had over 1500 pornographic images hidden in his closet. The children had been lured to the apartment, stipped naked and photographed. Pictures showed the children having sex with Bell as well. Children were as young as 3, 6 and 7.
Bell took advantage of female employees. Some women who worked at Portage Machine Co. brought him little girls, said Captain Larry Momchilov of the Summit County Ohio Sheriff's Department, and they took pictures while he assaulted the children.
Police say that some of Bell's high society friends came to the apartment to photograph the children too, but none were ever charged. All along, Bell was married and had two little girls at home.
The child molester was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but due to the influence his high priced friends had, he was able to get out prison in only three years and nine months at his first parole hearing in May 1981.
The parole board said that Bell had "many" letters written on his behalf by well-respected members of the community, stating he was a good man, could be trusted to contribute to society and should be paroled. When he got out of prison, his wife Maria and two daughters were waiting for him. Portage Machine Co sold out to Bendix and later closed in 1983, the company unable to survive the scandal.
With a less common handle like, James Dickson Bell II, it was clear he was going to have make some changes if he was going to blend back into society. He moved to Florida, into a $500,000 home and began using the more common name James Bell. Since there were no sex offender registry laws back then, Bell was able to reinvent himself.
Bell and his wife moved to the prestigious Rio Vista neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale in 1981. His past behind him, it looked like he was going to make a fresh start. But, it was all for show.
Police believe, but could never prove that Bell had been continually molesting countless children over a period of 30 years. Bell had a second home in Fort Lauderdale as far back as the mid-1970s and had, in fact, retreated there when he was out on bond before his 1977 trial.
In 1987 he had a misdemeanor conviction involving a prostitute. Lewis said Bell swore in an affidavit that he had never been convicted of another crime and then managed to get the misdemeanor record sealed.
Police say the long-time second home combined with his prostitution offense and his lie in the affidavit, formed the basis for the belief that "there was no gap at all in what this man had been doing for all those years."
By 1998 police had been tipped off that Bell and a woman, Tina Marie Oakley, 28, who worked as a babysitter for various families were taking children to motel rooms. He would sexually assault them while she took photographs of the sexual assaults. Bell was back to his old tricks and had found another greedy woman to lure children into his bed. Bell was financing her life, paying her mortgage and car payments. She was bought and paid for, wore expensive clothes and lots of gold jewelry.
In one case, Oakley, who had two sons of her own, had been offering to babysit free of charge, a little 7-year-old girl who lived with her poor grandmother. The grandmother had custody after the parents abandoned her and her two siblings. Oakley would take the take little girl to Disneyworld and buy her toys.
But, then the little girl began meeting Bell at the Feros Court Motel, room #18, 338 S. Federal Highway, in Dania Beach. Bell sexually assaulted her while Oakley took photos with a Polaroid camera.
The little girl told her brother she didn't want to go with Oakley anymore. Puzzled, the boy talked to their grandmother and the little girl unfolded the horrors that went on in room #18. The grandmother turned a blind eye, for fear the state would put her grandchildren in institutions. Traumatized by the attacks, the girl began talking to everyone, including the neighbors and the school counselor. The school contacted children's services, who in return called police. Police began watching bell at this point in time, looking for evidence.
Skip back to 7the story of the teenager raped by Garland George Curtis, 31, a Dolphin IV waiter from Jamaica on June 1, 1998. That story actually ties into this one. Only a little over four months later, with the trial having not even began yet, the Dolphin IV would come into news stories again for a sexual assault. This time, nobody could have guessed the horror connected to Dolphin.
When police caught up with Bell and Oakley on October 8, 1998 they were in a La Quinta Inn in Fort Lauderdale with two children, ages 13 and 15. Bell was naked when police entered the room. Bell had offered to pay the teens for sex.