Officials: Carteret Co. child porn downloader makes first court appearance

BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) — A Carteret County man arrested for downloading child pornography appeared in court on Wednesday.

District Attorney Scott Thomas tells us the judge set 45-year-old John Franklin Brown’s bond at $500,000. If he makes bond, he can’t possess any sexually oriented materials. He also cannot be alone with anyone under the age of 18 nor can he access any social media site.

 

The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office says members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes against Children (NCICAC) Task Force monitored child porn downloads from  Brown’s computer for the past year.

According to the ICAC law enforcement software utilized to monitor and classify IP addresses accessing child porn activity, Brown was considered North Carolina’s number one child porn downloader with over 800 images in his shared folder.

Brown was investigated by detectives from Beaufort to as far west as Carthage, NC in Moore County. Carteret County detectives coordinated the investigation along with the Internet Crimes against Children task force, NCSBI, Havelock Police, Beaufort Police
and the Moore County Sheriffs Office.

The Sheriff’s Office says the investigation took over a year partly due to the number of unsecured wireless networks Brown was utilizing.

The Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) task force utilizes undercover software which monitors targeted internet addresses for activity like Browns. Carteret County Detective John Guerry is a member of ICAC and coordinated the investigation locally.

All the members of this task force work together all over the state and provide assistance to catch an offender. The Sheriff’s Office says this was the case with Brown when his software launched in Carthage, NC while he was attending a landscaping conference at a golf resort.

Officials say an ICAC member with the Moore County Sheriffs Office noticed a tagged address pop up on his computer and noticed it was currently being investigated by several agencies.

The Sheriff’s Office says this was break investigators needed to tie both addresses together and then link it to Brown.

Detectives said Brown was cooperative during the execution of a search warrant and he surrendered his computer and external hard drive without incident. The computer and hard drive has been undergoing an extensive forensic scan at the SBI’s computer lab i n Raleigh.

Despite Brown’s cooperation and admissions in the case investigators are still in the process of recovering each of the files as evidence.

Sheriff Asa Buck said “Those who view and share pornographic pictures and videos of children contribute to the continual exploitation and victimization of the most innocent and helpless in our society. These offenders should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” “I commend all of the agencies and officers who worked this case in order to catch this suspect and bring his activity to an end.”

Brown was charged with three counts of Second-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a minor and twelve counts of Third-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a minor. Brown is currently being held in the Carteret County Jail under a $500,000.00 bond. As additional evidence is recovered Brown could face more charges.

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