YouTube videos land S.C. man back in jail

On the YouTube video-sharing Web site, Edward Muscare is known by his user name "Edarem," and his recordings show an older man lip syncing and singing songs such as Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman." Many of them have drawn hundreds of thousands of page views.

Muscare's online fame, though, helped land him back in jail.

Muscare's videos have become so viral that law enforcement in Florida and South Carolina, where he has been living, became aware of his online presence. The former Lake County, Fla., resident was jailed for violating probation and for not complying with conditions related to his status as a registered sex offender.

One of those conditions was that he not use the Internet or other computer services, according to court records.

Now, some of Muscare's followers are coming to his defense by posting messages online, urging "Freedom for Edward Muscare" and "Libertad para Edarem."

One Muscare supporter has posted a lengthy message addressed to Lake Circuit Judge Mark Hill on YouTube.

"I am writing you on behalf of an individual who is now in jail for posting videos of his dogs and advice on how to scratch your back ..." the YouTube user wrote. "If there is any justice in the world Edward Muscare will be liberated."

Muscare, 77, has an arraignment scheduled for Monday. His case ultimately will go before Hill, who sentenced Muscare two years ago for failure to comply with sex-offender reporting requirements.

Court records show Muscare avoided a five-year prison sentence when he pleaded guilty in 2007 and received five years probation with special conditions of sex-offender probation. He had apparently moved out of his Lady Lake, Fla., home and up to a new residence in Orangeburg, S.C., but he failed to notify officials about the move as required.

In a letter sent to Hill at that time, Muscare wrote, "In the past 21 years, the only law I broke was leaving Florida in December 2005 without notifying the Sheriff's Office. And I did that only because of threats to my life and property."

Muscare declined a request for an interview Friday at the Lake County Jail.

His criminal problems in Central Florida date back to 1986, when The Orlando Sentinel identified Muscare as a former Kansas City television host who was arrested in San Diego on charges that he molested a 14-year-old Orange County, Fla., boy while he was in Orlando. In Kansas City he worked as a late-night television show host known as "Uncle Ed." He later worked for a station in San Diego.

In 1987, Muscare pleaded no contest to sexual battery, according to records with the Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office. He was sentenced to 2 { years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised probation. Records show he also was ordered not be alone with children under 14, state attorney's spokeswoman Danielle Tavernier said.

In 1998, he was accused of failing to promptly register as a sex offender after coming off of his probation. And then in 2006, he was hit was the similar charge of failure to comply when he made the move out of state.

Muscare's history has not fazed his online fans though.

Below his "Oh, Pretty Woman" , one fan wrote in typical unpunctuated Web-speak, "edarem you look like a cross between uncle fester and doc out of back to the future. and maybe a bit of boris karloff thrown in the mix. you are a true youtube legend and will be for some time to come."

Another user wrote, "this guy is one cool grandpa."

At least one supporter, the one with the lengthy note addressed to Hill, suggested that Muscare might not have controlled what videos appeared online.

His defense lawyer, Jeremy Pykosz, an assistant public defender who just received the case, said that could be a defense, but he must review the facts first.

"It could be a good argument. ... Someone could take different videos and post them online without their knowledge or permission," he said. "That can definitely be a possibility."

(c) 2009, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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