A Zachary man pleaded guilty Monday to federal child pornography charges that require his imprisonment for at least five years, possibly as many as 30.
FBI analysis of a cellphone belonging to the man contributed to his decision to plead guilty, court records show.
In return for the man’s guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor, which carries a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Christopher S. Brown, 32, was taken immediately into custody on a motion by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam T. Le.
U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson agreed with Le’s argument that federal law requires immediate incarceration of people convicted on charges of receipt and possession of child pornography.
Last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan A. Stevens stated in court records that a trial of Brown’s case would show that Brown crashed his vehicle into an apartment in St. Francisville on Sept. 25, 2010.
“First responders rushed to the scene to tend to the apartment’s residents, including several small children,” Stevens wrote.
Brown, “apparently in a rush to leave the scene, left his vehicle behind,” Stevens told Jackson.
“Later that day, when the woman who lived in the apartment returned to her home from the hospital to begin clearing the debris, she discovered a cellphone that she did not recognize,” Stevens added. “When she turned on the phone to identify it, she found explicit images and texts between” Brown and a 14-year-old girl the woman recognized.
The woman immediately contacted police officers, who then turned the cellphone over to the FBI, Stevens reported.
Images taken from Brown’s cellphone included the sexual abuse of several young girls, including one believed to be younger than 8, Stevens wrote the judge.
On Monday, Le also told Jackson that Brown was found to possess videos of “minors engaged in sexually explicit behavior.”
Jackson asked Brown: “Do you agree, sir, that this is what you did?”
“Yes,” replied Brown.
Both Brown and one of his attorneys, Joshua D. Gordon, argued that Brown should be permitted to remain free until his sentencing hearing.
But Jackson said Le correctly interpreted federal law to require Brown’s incarceration immediately after his conviction.
The judge told Gordon he could file a written motion for Brown’s later release, but he had deputy marshals place Brown under arrest at the conclusion of the hearing.
Jackson scheduled Brown for sentencing Jan. 24.