Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sgt Milton 'Scott' Pruitt Guilty of Receiving Child Porn

It took a trial of less than a week and only two hours of jury deliberation for former Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Milton "Scott" Pruitt to be convicted of two counts of receiving child pornography.

He could face up to 40 years in jail, and will be sentenced Oct. 8.

"Any person who is entrusted with protecting the public's safety is the last person we would expect to exploit children," said U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias. "Instead of upholding the law as he was sworn to do, this defendant trampled the law and victimized innocent children."

Pruitt, 41 and an eight-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, was indicted in August 2008 on three counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. The jury found him not guilty of the third charge, possession.

Pruitt was fired from the Sheriff's Office May 17, two months after the county's IT department discovered he had been looking at investigative files seized as part of a case on child pornography on his cruiser's laptop. The case was given to the GBI, which investigated it.

Pruitt, a sergeant supervising other patrol deputies, was not authorized to view the 10 sexually explicit images, which were in a detective's case files.

During an interview with a GBI agent, Pruitt admitted that he accessed and viewed the pornographic images because he was "just curious," it was revealed in court.

A subsequent search of Pruitt's home computer turned up hundreds of images of child pornography and numerous Internet searches for such images, said the GBI in court.

He turned himself in to Forsyth authorities May 23.

Pruitt shocked many in Forsyth County in February 2008 when he announced his candidacy for Sheriff in the July 15 primary.

During his campaign, the embattled former deputy wouldn't answer questions about the child pornography charges he faced under order from his lawyer.

He was soundly defeated, garnering nearly 8 percent of the vote to Sheriff Ted Paxton's 85 percent. He did, however, do slightly better than candidate Brian Millard, another ex-deputy.

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