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Former Forsyth County sheriff candidate, deputy indicted for child porn

POSTED: August 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A former Forsyth County sheriff’s deputy and unsuccessful candidate for sheriff was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on child pornography charges.

In a three-count indictment, Milton Scott Pruitt, 40, of 5510 Apache Trail in northeastern Forsyth County was charged with possession of and receiving child pornography.

Pruitt, formerly a sergeant with the sheriff’s office, was fired May 17, 2007, after he reportedly used his county-issued computer to access illegal images of child pornography that were part of a sheriff’s office investigation to which he was not assigned.

In a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia, U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said it is "disturbing when someone entrusted with public safety exploits his position to commit crimes."

The indictment also states that "continuing through on or about May 16, 2007, Pruitt knowingly received graphic images on his home computer, the production of which involved the use of minor children engaging in sexually explicit conduct," according the report.

Less than a week after he was fired, Pruitt was arrested and charged with 20 felony counts of violation of the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act.

He was additionally charged in 2007 with one count each of theft by taking, theft by conversion, computer trespass and violation of oath of office.

The charges were the result of an internal investigation by the sheriff’s office and a criminal investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Pruitt, who ran for sheriff this year and came in second in a three-man Republican primary contest to Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton, has not been indicted on the local charges.

Pruitt could not be reached Wednesday. His wife, Kim, declined to comment on the matter, referring inquiries to his attorney.

Attempts to reach the attorney were not successful.

Pruitt’s first court appearance has not been scheduled, though it could be as early as today, officials said. If convicted, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.

Paxton was elected to a third four-year term, receiving 10,868 votes, or 85 percent, to Pruitt’s 956 votes, or 8 percent, in the July 15 balloting.

Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Millard, who also ran for the post, finished third with 907 votes, or 7 percent.

Paxton said Wednesday that the indictment is good news.

"His actions were certainly not the actions of somebody who should be vested with the authority of being in law enforcement, and we’re certainly glad to see the case moving forward," Paxton said.

Nahmias said that people who receive and possess child pornography "support a vile industry that causes immense harm to innocent children.

"This former law enforcement officer is part of the problem, unlike the vast majority of officers who are part of the solution," Nahmias said.



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