Monday, April 28, 2003

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Former Campus Police Officer Pleads Guilty In Child Porn Case

AUSTIN--Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Texas Internet Bureau and Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna obtained a guilty plea today from a former Tarrant County Community College police officer. Ernest Dwaine Brown, 46, of Cleburne was charged with 10 counts of possession and three counts of promotion of child pornography. He entered his guilty plea in Johnson County District Court and agreed to a jail term of 14 years.

"Consistent with its mission, the Internet Bureau continues to focus on offenders who prey on the most vulnerable among us - our children," said Attorney General Abbott. "This becomes especially important when the offender turns out to be an officer whose job is to protect the public from criminals."

District Attorney Hanna praised the work of the Internet Bureau and said sex crimes in Johnson County will not be tolerated. "We were able to achieve a 14-year sentence against an individual with no criminal record," he said. "This shows how seriously we take these offenses in this county."

Brown was arrested at his home last Nov. 19 by Internet Bureau officers, campus police and officers with the Cleburne Police Department. The Internet Bureau acted on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Virginia and obtained a search warrant. The organization had information from a reliable third party that Brown likely possessed this material. At that time, he was charged with only one count of possession of child pornography, based on a printed pornographic image found in the home during the search.

Further forensic analysis of Brown's computer equipment, however, revealed a number of electronic images in his possession showing minor children engaged in sexual conduct with adults. The more serious counts of promotion against Brown stemmed from the fact that he transferred images of child sexual conduct to CD-ROM discs, which could be displayed as a movie on a computer screen and potentially shared with others.

Possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony, carries a range of punishment of two to 10 years, while promotion, a second-degree felony, can result in jail time of two to 20 years.

Assistant Attorney General Maya Guerra-Gamble assisted Hanna in the prosecution.