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Former White County deputy pleads guilty to producing child porn

Minimum sentence is 15 years

POSTED: September 18, 2012 11:59 p.m.

A former White County Sheriff’s Office deputy has pleaded guilty to producing child pornography, but the charges for possession of child porn were dropped, according to the federal court’s minute sheet.

Christopher Davis, 32, of Dahlonega was arrested in August 2011 following a search of his home that led to the discovery of 11 different computers and storage devices that federal agents said contained child pornography. They also seized two cameras from his vehicle, one of which federal officials said was used to produce child pornography.

His trial began Monday in federal court, but Davis changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on the first count, that he used a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct,” as described in the indictment filed in September 2011.

Negotiated in that plea was the dismissal of the second count, that he knowingly possessed child porn, which carries with it a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 27 in federal court.

“This defendant committed the ultimate act of betrayal,” U.S. attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. “He violated the trust of the 6-year old victim, who he was charged with protecting, and betrayed the trust of his community by committing this heinous act while employed as sworn law enforcement officer.”

Davis’ attorney, Tony Axam, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

In earlier hearings, Axam argued that federal agents did not provide sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant to search the defendant’s home, and said the evidence should be thrown out.

He also argued White County and federal agents took improper steps to obtain a recorded interview with Davis.

In those recordings, the defendant can be heard denying that he photographed a then 6-year-old girl in images that agents described as “sexually explicit.” Later in the recording, Davis can be heard saying he did take the photographs but said they were not explicit and denied “manufacturing child pornography.”

Federal agents were tipped off about child pornography allegations against Davis after investigators from the Child Exploitation Investigations Group arrested Timothy McKeithan of Houston, Texas, on similar charges. Davis’ ex-wife, Lisa Davis, was McKeithan’s girlfriend at the time.

Lisa Davis told investigators the images of a then 6-year-old girl found on McKeithan’s storage devices were produced by Christopher Davis.

She told authorities she took his hard drive because it had photos of her and asked McKeithan to delete them. She then mailed the hard drive back.

Axam said Lisa Davis’ statements, made to authorities after her boyfriend’s arrest, were not sufficient probable cause for a judge to give a warrant to search the defendant’s home.

U.S. prosecutors disagreed, saying there was no basis to question Lisa Davis’ credibility “other than she has horrendous taste in men.”

The maximum sentence Davis could receive is 30 years in prison, while the mandatory minimum term is 15 years.

Prosecutors recommended the minimum term, according to the plea agreement.

Davis will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and may be required to pay a maximum fine of $250,000.


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