Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sgt. Daniel Bowden Busted for Looking at Child Porn

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper is unemployed after he was busted for looking at child pornography online.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies arrested Sgt. Daniel Bowden, 40, Tuesday afternoon.

Bowden is facing 10 counts of child pornography for pictures the Lake County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit confirmed were on Bowden's computer.

It's an undercover investigation that has taken months to come to light.

“This started back in November of 2008 with a search warrant. Several computers were seized and once the forensics was completed on those computers, there were several images of child pornography that we discovered,” said Cpl. Jim Vachon from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

It was a shocking discovery that led to the arrest of Bowden, an 18-year veteran of the highway patrol, who worked in DeLand, but lives in Lake County.

Deputies said some of the pornographic images Bowden had on his computer appeared to be of children under 4 years old.

“They were described as being obviously children, some pre-pubescent. Just the file names alone were pretty graphic,” Vachon said.

Bowden made statements to the sheriff’s office about his actions.

“Things like ‘I screwed up’ and ‘I was just curious,’ that kind of thing,” Vachon said.

Officers said at one point, Bowden said he did not think what he was doing was a big deal.

It wasn’t the reaction the Florida Highway Patrol had after finding out about his arrest. They said Bowden is being fired and released the following statement:

We regret the incident involving Mr. Bowden, and we certainly do not condone his actions in any way. As State Troopers charged with the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors, we expect all of our officers to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards, including those relating to both their professional and personal lives.

“I mean, of course, it’s difficult for us to investigate a fellow law enforcement officer. But in the end, we've got a job to do and it's just unfortunate that this is the way it went,” Vachon said.

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