Roommates Sentenced To Federal Prison For Possessing Child Pornography
DALLAS — Franklin Bratcher, 44, of Dallas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to 66 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in February 2013 to one count of possession of child pornography. Bratcher’s roommate, Howard Tyson, 45, was sentenced in June 2013 to the statutory maximum of 10 years in federal prison, following his guilty plea in March 2013 to the same offense. Both men have been in federal custody since they entered their guilty pleas. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, Bratcher and Tyson each used peer-to-peer file-sharing to download child pornography from the internet onto their computers. When agents with the U.S. Secret Service executed a federal search warrant at their residence on July 26, 2011, both Bratcher and Tyson admitted that they had been downloading child pornography for at least one year. Tyson admitted that he downloaded most of the child pornography onto his wife’s laptop computer. A forensic examination of Tyson’s computer and his wife’s computer revealed that the hard drives contained more than 8000 images and 20 videos of child pornography. A forensic analysis of Bratcher’s hard drive revealed more than 200 images and nine videos of child pornography. Both Bratcher and Tyson acknowledged that some of the images were sadistic and that the images and videos were of real prepubescent and pubescent minors.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and the Plano Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks prosecuted.