A Michigan orthodontist who practices in Granville and Plainville has been accused of possessing child pornography and soliciting minors.
Thomas Shannon, 41, was arraigned Thursday before midnight following a lengthy investigation where detectives found evidence that the suspect was soliciting minors for sexually explicit images since 2019, according to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.
Kent County detectives became aware of the alleged crimes when they were notified in late 2019 by the Fuqay Varina Police Department in North Carolina that a 17-year-old girl in their jurisdiction had been contacted online by a man in Kent County, later identified as Shannon.
According to a probable cause affidavit, a Kent County sheriff’s detective went to the orthodontist practice at Shannon Orthodontics to interview him and ask if he remembered messaging the North Carolina minor on Snapchat two years ago, MLive reported.
“If it happened, obviously it’s all there and I have to fess up to it,” Shannon allegedly told the detective.
Furthermore, Shannon allegedly hired a private forensic investigator to look at his iPhone and iCloud accounts to show there was no evidence of child pornography on them, according to the affidavit.
However, authorities say the investigator found “a large amount of child pornography” in the iCloud data, containing sexually explicit images of girls under 12 years old, the affidavit read.
After receiving a search warrant for Shannon’s electronic devices and social media accounts, an investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office found alleged child pornography on them, which led to his arrest.
Shannon has been charged with two counts of aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material, two counts of sexually abusive material, and several other counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
Shannon’s bond was set at $200,000.
Following the 41-year-old’s arrest, Shannon Orthodontics sent a letter to its patients, Fox 17 reported.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the disturbing allegations against Dr. Shannon. Immediately following our receipt of the news, our offices closed for patients and staff,” the business said. “We will be cooperating fully with law enforcement as they continue their investigation.”
Shannon’s lawyer, Frank Stanley, shared a statement Friday regarding the charges.
“My client begins the legal process with the presumption of innocence. He has cooperated fully with authorities in their investigation, Stanley said. “We look forward to his day in court when these allegations can be addressed.”
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.