Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

A convicted child sex offender, found by News4 Investigates operating as a balloon artist for children, is once again facing charges that were dropped in 2017

News4 Investigates first exposed in 2017 that Larry Valentine, who goes by the name of “Mr. Twisty,” was charged with violating the sex offender registry when he was found making balloon animals for children at a Nashville Sounds game.

News4 Investigates also found repeated cases of Valentine showing up at fairs and events making balloons for children.

  

Prosecutors in 2017 said Valentine was in violating because he was being around children unsupervised and was forbidden from working a job that close to a park.

But a judge ultimately dropped the charges, when Valentine’s attorney said that he was never unsupervised, because of all the adults in the stadium, and because Valentine wasn’t being paid, he wasn’t technically working.

In recorded audio from the time, Valentine himself said he was making the balloons for children just for fun.

“Sometimes I like to be entertaining. Gets boring between innings,” Valentine testified.

But after the charges were dropped, the Davidson County district attorney’s office directly presented the case to a grand jury in Sept 2017, and the charges were once again filed and a warrant issued.

But the indictment was sealed, so no one in the public knew the charges had once again been filed.

“After the charges were dropped, we received new information from someone at the park that heard the conversations that were going on,” said assistant district attorney Tammy Meade.

Meade is referring to what News4 Investigates learned in 2017, that attorney Sean McKinney not only photographed Valentine as the Sounds’ game, but said he overheard the sex offender speaking inappropriately to children.

“What caught my attention was some of the perverted jokes he was making to children about whether it was a boy dog or had a long tail. After the third genitalia joke, he really caught my attention,” McKinney told News4 Investigates in 2017.

McKinney, however, was not called to testify in Valentine’s case in 2017.

After the Grand Jury in Sept. 2017 issued the new indictment, a warrant was issued for Valentine’s arrest.

Jail records show Valentine spent most of 2017 in the Williamson County jail on another violation conviction, but it is unclear where he went after that and why the warrant wasn’t immediately served when he left the jail.

Cheatham County sheriff Mike Breedlove confirms to News4 Investigates that last month, Valentine called dispatch to self-report that he lived in the county.

At that time, the sheriff’s office found the warrant, and Valentine was taken into custody and has his next court appearance on October 30.

“This case was dismissed before. are you worried it will be dismissed again?” asked News4 Investigates.

“We are not worried that it will be dismissed again. We've looked at the case, submitted it to a Grand Jury. We believe we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Meade said.

This time, McKinney has been called to testify what he says he heard Valentine say to children.

Neither Valentine nor his attorney returned our repeated calls and emails for comment.

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