Texas Ed Services Director Pleads Guilty for Child Porn on Work Computer

JOCHEN LUEBKE/AFP/Getty Images
JOCHEN LUEBKE/AFP/Getty Images

The former finance director of a West Texas education service center pleaded guilty to felony child porn after a tip triggered a federal investigation that uncovered more than 1,100 lewd images and videos of prepubescent minors on his workplace computer.

Neal Edmond Brown admitted to one count of possession of prepubescent child pornography on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater, said Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Brown, 46, faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release. At the time of his June arrest, he worked for the Region 16 Education Service Center (ESC) located in Amarillo. He served as the director of school finance operations.

Region 16 interfaces between the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the 62 school districts and two charter schools located in the  Panhandle and West Texas. It is one of 20 regional centers providing a variety of education services on a local level to the state’s 1,200-plus school districts and public charter schools.

The child porn matter came to light when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a tip that a sexually explicit image of a minor was uploaded using Skype from an IP address that traced back to the Region 16 ESC. On June 21, local and federal law enforcement agents contacted Region 16 officials to inform them planned to execute an on-site search warrant.

Region 16 ESC personnel assisted police investigators. Law enforcement later verified that Brown uploaded the sexually explicit image of a prepubescent child from his work computer after federal agents seized several electronic devices located in Brown’s office. A forensic examination revealed these devices contained more than 900 images and 200 videos of child pornography.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Amarillo police subsequently booked Brown into the Randall County jail where he spent two nights before bonding out.

On June 26, Region 16 ESC Executive Director Ray Cogburn commented in a press release: “The employee who was the subject of the investigation is no longer employed by Region 16 ESC, and the ESC is not aware of any other ESC employee implicated in the investigation.”

Cogburn stated that Region 16 ESC “is dedicated to the health, safety, and education of children in Texas, and especially those in West Texas and the Panhandle.”

He also said: “Moreover, ESC is taking proactive steps to ensure that its internal network security cannot be circumvented in the future with inappropriate and/or illegal content.”

Randall County Sheriff’s Office records show that Brown was re-arrested on October 26 after which he remained behind bars on a “federal hold.”

Breitbart Texas reached out to the Region 16 ESC for comment now that Brown pleaded guilty; however, spokesman Matt Koumalats declined issuing any further comment beyond Cogburn’s June remarks.

Brown’s sentencing is scheduled for March 26, 2018.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Amarillo Police Department investigated this case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.