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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hillsborough Community College Professor Arrested And Charged With Possession And Distribution Of Child Pornography

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces today that Howard Joseph Vorder Bruegge, III (35, Tampa) has been arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint with possession and distribution of child pornography. Vorder Bruegge faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison for the distribution charge, and a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment for the possession charge. A federal judge has denied Vorder Bruegge’s request for bail and ordered him detained pending trial. Vorder Bruegge is a mathematics professor at Hillsborough Community College.

According to the complaint, an individual using the screen names “JoeBlow73” and “JoeBlowFL” had distributed child pornography on Kik Messenger, an internet-based communications app. Further investigation revealed that the IP address and subscriber information associated with those Kik accounts were linked to Vorder Bruegge and his Tampa residence.

On October 23, 2018, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at Vorder Bruegge’s home and seized several electronic devices. According to the complaint, during an interview with agents, Vorder Bruegge admitted to having distributed child pornography and that his cellphone contained images of child pornography. An examination of Vorder Bruegge’s cellphone revealed a collection of child-pornographic images and videos, including multiple videos involving infants. Federal agents arrested Vorder Bruegge at his home without incident.

A criminal complaint is only an allegation and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.

This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit   

Project Safe Childhood
Updated October 24, 2018