Liberty, Ind., man arrested on charges of child exploitation
Suspect reportedly works as sheriff's deputy
Last Updated: 110 days ago
LIBERTY, Ind. - A Franklin County sheriff's deputy was arrested Monday after federal agents say they found a thumb drive and camera containing child pornography at his home.
Derek Walton, 31, of Liberty, Ind., was charged by U.S. attorneys with child exploitation after officials say an investigation into another sex offender led them to Walton's e-mail.
Walton has been employed as a reserve sheriff’s deputy at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office since 2004, where he works as a jail officer.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed today, federal law enforcement became aware of an individual allegedly sending images and videos of child pornography through an AOL e-mail account. This account was shut down by AOL after a complaint was registered.
A second e-mail account was discovered by federal agents while investigating a sexual offender, who had exchanged child pornography with the account in question. These two email accounts, along with an additional account known to law enforcement agents, have been allegedly traced to Walton. This includes an account that was allegedly accessed repeatedly from the Franklin County Security Center.
As a result of this investigation, federal agents served a search warrant at Walton’s home on Aug. 16. During the search, agents allegedly located a laptop, as well as a thumb drive that was hidden behind a mirror in the main bedroom of Walton’s home. Police said the thumb drive contained a number of pornographic images and videos depicting a minor female.
In addition, agents found a small video camera hidden in a can in the living room. This camera was found to contain additional explicit materials showing a minor female.
"These cases are always difficult, both as a prosecutor and as a parent,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett, whose office filed the charges. “They are even more troubling when the allegations involve a law enforcement official who was entrusted with protecting Hoosier communities."
Walton faces decades in federal prison if he is found guilty of child exploitation, according to attorneys prosecuting the case. In addition, Walton also could be sentenced to years of supervised release, and lifetime registration as a sexual predator.
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