Ex-Long Beach police officer sentenced to prison for child pornography

A former Long Beach police officer who pleaded guilty to distributing child sex abuse material was sentenced Monday to nearly six years in prison.

Anthony Brown, 57, pleaded guilty to a count of distributing child pornography in March, federal prosecutors said. In his plea agreement, he admitted to sharing at least one picture while on duty at Long Beach Airport.

His case was marred by several investigator blunders, including when a detective called him more than a year before his arrest in February 2021 and updated him on the investigation.

The case came to Long Beach police officers’ attention in May 2020, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children informed the department that an account on the messaging app MeWe, registered to a Long Beach phone number, was being used to distribute images of child sexual abuse.

From October 2019 to May 2020, Brown used the messaging app to chat about forcing a fictional underage relative to have sex with men, according to court documents. He also shared pictures of children being sexually abused, according to court documents.

A detective linked the number to Brown and called him to say his account was being used to share sexual abuse images, the Long Beach Post reported.

Det. Laurie Barajas Brown reportedly said she would drop the case, but if there were further complaints she would file criminal charges. Prosecutors said this gave Brown a chance to erase evidence from his phone.

Barajas told federal investigators that she didn’t know Brown was a police officer until after their phone conversation, according to court records. Police said Barajas’ call was “consistent with investigative best practices at the time,” the Post reported.

A spokesman for the Long Beach Police Department told the Post that under the new department policy, detectives would no longer call suspects in ongoing investigations.

Brown, who worked for the Long Beach Police Department for nearly 27 years, remained an officer for months after the investigation began, before being suspended without pay after his arrest. According to the Long Beach Post, he was allowed to apply for retirement with a pension shortly after his arrest.

In addition to serving 70 months in federal prison, Brown was sentenced to pay a $15,000 fine and will be released for life under supervision, according to the US Attorney for the Central District of California.

Brown now resides in Iceland, Kentucky, and his attorney, Howard Price, expects him to surrender to serve his sentence in October.

Price called the verdict disappointing and said charges were only being brought because Brown was an officer.

“The fact that he was a cop is clearly inappropriate, but the difference is that his criminal behavior didn’t appear as a cop, but as a cop,” Price said. “In other words, he did not use his position as a police officer to commit a crime.”

The Long Beach Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-25/former-long-beach-police-officer-sentenced-to-prison-for-child-pornography Ex-Long Beach police officer sentenced to prison for child pornography

Alley Einstein

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