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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Elmira Man Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Howard Edward Brooks, 40, of Elmira, NY, pleaded guilty to receipt, attempted distribution, and four counts of possession of child pornography involving prepubescent minors before U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer. Receipt and attempted distribution of child pornography each carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison with a maximum of 20 years, while each count of possession of child pornography involving prepubescent minors is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Each charge also carries a fine of up to $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that Brooks, a former teacher at the Elmira Christian Academy, was arrested in August of 2015 following the execution of a federal search warrant at his Elmira residence. During that search, FBI Agents found several digital items containing photos and videos of children as young as toddlers being raped.

When FBI Agents arrived to execute the search warrant, Brooks tried to flush several thumb drives down the toilet. The defendant stated that he did so because he saw the FBI in his driveway and knew the thumb drives contained child pornography. However, the thumb drives were recovered from the sewer under Brooks’ residence with the assistance of the Chemung County Department of Public Works. Those thumb drives were then forensically analyzed and hundreds of child pornography videos were recovered from each. 
The plea is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen.

Sentencing is set for May 8, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. before Judge Larimer.

Updated December 15, 2017