Commonwealth Journal

July 22, 2013

Pulaski man enters Alford plea on child porn charges

By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A former Pulaski County resident accused of possessing more than 80 images containing child pornography entered an Alford plea in the case last week.

Eric Dean Bryant, 24, formerly of Bronston, appeared before Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey T. Burdette on Thursday and entered an Alford plea of guilty to four counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.  An Alford plea is entered when a defendant maintains his or her innocence but recognizes that enough evidence exists to bring about a conviction during a trial.

Those four counts were amended down from the 87 counts of promoting a sexual performance by a minor that were handed down by a Pulaski County grand jury last year.

Those charges were based on an investigation that began in August 2010 after an undercover police officer in Wheaton, Ill. allegedly discovered that a suspect, later identified as Bryant, was sharing child pornography via the Internet. Officials in Wheaton, Ill. contacted the local authorities after those files were traced back to Pulaski County, according to the sheriff’s department.

A search was carried out at Judy Drive in Bronston, where Bryant was living at the time. Bryant’s current address listed in jail records is Whitley City, in McCreary County.

A number of items, including computers, CDs, flash drives and cell phones, were confiscated during the search and sent to the Kentucky State Police Computers Crimes Section in Frankfort, where forensic examiners allegedly found 87 images and videos depicting various children under the age of 16 engaged in different sexual acts.

Promoting a sexual performance by a minor is a class B felony and brings 10-20 years per count.

During Thursday’s hearing, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David A. Dalton, who is prosecuting the case, said he would recommend a 20-year sentence for the charges.

Dalton also said Bryant will be a lifetime registrant on the sex offender registry.  

Burdette set final sentencing for August 15, 2013.