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Child Exploitation

Law enforcement officer sentenced to prison for receipt of child pornography

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A 26-year-old former law enforcement officer was sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison for possession of child pornography following an Indian River County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Stephen Guy Thomas, Jr., formerly a law enforcement officer for the Indian River County Sheriff's Office (IRCSO), was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez to 210 months in prison, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Thomas had previously pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography.

IRCSO initiated an online Internet investigation and executed a search warrant at Thomas' residence in Vero Beach, Fla. which is located on the grounds of the Rosewood Magnet Elementary School. At the time, Thomas was employed as a law enforcement officer by the IRCSO. During the search, the officers seized an external hard drive from a lockbox found inside a safe in Thomas' bedroom and a laptop computer located inside of Thomas' assigned sheriff's office patrol vehicle.

A forensic analysis of the seized material revealed the presence of more than 100 video clips and more than 50 pictures, depicting children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct, along with thousands of images of child erotica that led to the filing of federal charges against Thomas.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Rinku Talwar.