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Indiana deputy held on child-porn charges

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – A sheriff’s deputy facing federal child pornography charges had more than 40,000 child porn images stored on his personal computer and an external storage device, according to court documents citing federal investigators.

Vigo County Sheriff’s Deputy James Edward Haley Jr., 31, was arrested Friday at his Terre Haute home on one count of possession of child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court states that Haley admitted downloading child pornography from the Internet via a file-sharing program and storing it on his laptop computer and an external storage device.

“He admitted doing this for at least the past six months,” the court documents states.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday for Haley’s attorney, Joseph Etling.

U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said Monday that an Indiana State Police investigator who connected to a computer through an online peer-to-peer sharing network was able to download more than 100 child pornography images from a computer that was eventually traced to Haley.

Hogsett said the investigation continues into the other participants in the peer-to-peer sharing network.

Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing told the Tribune-Star (http://bit.ly/10ceuNF) that he’s shocked and angry that Haley violated the public’s trust by sharing pornographic images and videos of children as young as age 5.

Haley, who was hired by the department in 2011, has been on paid administrative leave since his arrest, but Ewing said he plans to call an emergency merit board meeting following an internal investigation to seek Haley’s termination. He said Haley’s fellow deputies and others in the department were stunned by his arrest and angry at him.

“They’re shocked. They had no idea. And then they got mad,” he said.

Investigators said they found more than 40,000 images of child pornography on Haley’s personal laptop computer and a storage device. The department seized all of Haley’s department-issued equipment, including his patrol vehicle.

Ewing said Haley’s department-issued laptop computer has been examined and no pornographic images were found on it.

State Police Sgt. Joe Watts said the agency’s Crimes Against Children unit works nearly around the clock to identify and apprehend people who prey on and exploit children.

“These men and women assigned to this elite unit are fiercely dedicated, highly trained and possess some of the most advanced computer systems and software to date,” Watts said.

A federal magistrate in Terre Haute on Monday ordered Haley held until a Thursday detention hearing on whether the officer will be given pretrial release or remain held until trial.

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