Officer Justin Broussard Guilty Of Child Porn Jan 21, 2007 2:44:39 GMT -5
Post by Critique on Jan 21, 2007 2:44:39 GMT -5
SEGUIN, TEXAS — The former New Braunfels DARE officer arrested in August on child pornography charges pleaded guilty Friday to eight counts of possession of sexually explicit images of children.
Under terms of a plea agreement between former police officer Justin Broussard and prosecutors with Attorney General Greg Abbott’s cyber crimes unit, 25th Judicial District Judge Dwight Peschel sentenced Broussard, 44, to six years in state prison on each of eight counts of possession of child pornography.
As part of the plea and sentencing, which occurred in a pre-trial hearing late Friday morning in Seguin, Broussard will be required to permanently surrender his certification as a peace officer and to register as a sex offender.
The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning Broussard, who has been held in Guadalupe County Jail since his Aug. 5 arrest, will first be eligible for parole in a little more than one year.
It is illegal in the United States to possess sexually explicit images of children. In Texas, the offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
“Texans will not tolerate criminals who exploit our children,” Abbott said in a news release his office issued Friday. “The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue its aggressive crackdown on child pornographers and sexual predators who rob our children of their innocence. These dangerous predators will be brought to justice for their despicable crimes.”
When state investigators went to local authorities in New Braunfels and Seguin, they received help in their investigation from the NBPD, the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and investigators and staff in the office of Guadalupe County District Attorney Vicki Pattillo.
In his statement, Abbott praised Pattillo.
“We are very grateful to FBI Special Agent in Charge Ralph Diaz, his office, and Guadalupe County District Attorney Vicki Pattillo for their tremendous assistance in this case,” Abbott said. “It is an honor to work side-by-side with local law enforcement as we strive toward a Texas that is safer for our children.”
Pattillo said her office provided equipment, logistical and investigative support to the AG and the FBI.
“Our officers worked with their officers,” Pattillo said. “It was a joint effort.”
State and federal investigators ran the case and served the search warrant, Pattillo said.
“They had the resources to pursue this case,” Pattillo said. “We’re very pleased for their help, and I think justice was done here in Guadalupe County today.”
Broussard’s arrest at his Guadalupe County home rocked New Braunfels because the 11-year veteran officer had served for years as one of that city’s two Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers. Broussard and the other officer were removed from their DARE postings in 2002 and put back on patrol duty when New Braunfels Police Chief Russell Johnson shut the program down because he didn’t have enough officers to spare two to work in classrooms. The other officer left the department shortly afterward.
The investigation that led to Broussard’s arrest began in July after his wife, Sherea Broussard found two DVDs containing child pornography in a home office, destroyed them and confronted her husband.
According to affadavits filed in 25th Judicial District Court, Broussard told his wife he had been molested as a boy and that he would seek treatment. When he failed to do so, she contacted the FBI, which contacted Abbott’s fugitive unit.
In the search of the Broussard family residence, state, federal and local officers seized computers, discs and videos.
Bud Kirkendall, former district attorney and now 2nd 25th judicial district judge, set Broussard’s bail at $100,000.
On the Monday following his Saturday arrest, Johnson personally went to the jail to fire Broussard.
Johnson and New Braunfels Patrol Capt. John Villarreal worked to maintain a “business as usual” attitude at the police department, pointing out that none of the allegations pertained to Broussard’s work as a DARE officer or involved any New Braunfels students — and that the disgraced officer was not indicative of the caliber of officer or employee at the NBPD.
Friday, Villarreal reiterated that. Like Pattillo, Villarreal said he believed justice was done in Seguin.
“He was afforded due process, and I respect the sentence in Guadalupe County,” Villarreal said. “As disappointing as this may have been, it is not at all indicative of the rest of the members of this department. I think our record and our community support here in New Braunfels shows that.”
Johnson fired Broussard within 72 hours of his arrest — without taking time, even, to tell his second-in-command that he was going to Seguin to do it.
When he returned to New Braunfels, Johnson was blunt.
“I fired the (officer),” Johnson told his captain, the editor and publisher of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and that newspaper’s police reporter.
Saying the judicial system must run its course, Johnson said no more.
Villarreal said he believed Johnson did the right thing — and did it decisively.
“He was terminated by the chief himself in person at the jail,” Villarreal said. “In my opinion, that was the correct call.