Local News

Tuesday, Feb 19 2013 01:15 PM

Former detective pleads guilty to child porn possession

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A former Bakersfield Police Department detective pleaded guilty in Fresno Tuesday to one count of possession of child pornography and faces years of prison time.

Christopher Kent Bowersox, 41, of Bakersfield, is set to be sentenced May 6. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release, according to the Office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, Eastern District of California.

According to a plea agreement filed in federal court Tuesday, prosecutors will recommend that Bowersox be sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and 120 months of supervised release. The agreement also states that if Bowersox has not violated any conditions of his release after 84 months, he can move to end his supervised release.

Federal prosecutors will move to dismiss the other charge in the case -- receipt and distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors -- if Bowersox is sentenced according to the plea agreement's terms, the court document said.

Bowersox caught law enforcement officers' attention after they arrested a Florida man on suspicion of possession of child pornography in September 2009. That man had taken part in "numerous graphic chat communications with Bowersox," according to a U.S. Attorney's office news release and court documents.

Investigators found chats with "cbowersox" on the man's computer that "contained multiple references to the raping, injuring and killing of children," the criminal complaint said.

Bakersfield police found a computer and several "digital storage devices" containing child pornography images when they executed a search warrant at Bowersox's home in November 2009, the news release said.

"Many of the images depicted prepubescent minors, and several depicted violence or sadistic or masochistic conduct," the news release said.

Bowersox admitted to engaging in the online chats to investigators, but said the conversations were fantasy and that he never carried out the detailed acts, according to the complaint.

The former police officer has been in federal custody since Feb. 12, 2010, and his case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa, according to the news release. A message left for Bowersox's attorney Tuesday was not returned.

Bowersox was with the police department for seven years but resigned two days before he was arrested.

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