Jury Doesn’t Buy Former Airline Exec Story in Child Porn Case

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BROWNSVILLE–A former Brownsville airline executive, who said his opponents framed him in a child pornography case, was found guilty Monday by a jury after a six-day trial.

A Brownsville jury returned its verdicts in the case of Robert Hedrick, 60, for attempted sexual exploitation of children, transfer of obscene materials to a minor, distribution and possession of child pornography, federal prosecutors said. 
 
Hedrick, the former President of the Brownsville based Pan-American Airways, was indicted on five federal counts last August for attempting to produce images of child pornography and the transfer of obscene materials to a minor between Sept. 14 and Nov. 22, 2010. 
 
Hedrick was also accused of two counts of distributing child pornography between March 8 and Sept. 16, 2010, and again between Sept. 14 and Nov. 22, 2010 as well as with possessing child pornography last July, the date of his arrest.
 
Hedrick claimed he had people who didn’t like him and they put the child porn material on his computer. He testified they did this to make him look bad and get him arrested.
 
During the trial, evidence was presened that between March 8, 2010, and Nov. 22, 2010, Hedrick contacted undercover investigators in Louisiana and Wisconsin through Yahoo instant messenger and e-mail more than 20 times.
 
In those online communications, Hedrick shared 136 images of adult and child pornography with detectives who were posing as 13 and 14-year-old girls. Hedrick also asked each of the undercover detectives to provide him with images of themselves in sexually explicit poses and engaged in sex acts.
 
Federal prosecutors introduced a webcam video of Hedrick masturbating for the undercover detective who had repeatedly identified herself as a 14-year-old girl from Louisiana.
 
They also played an audio recording of a phone call between Hedrick and the same undercover detective during which Hedrick attempted to initiate phone sex.
 
At the time of his arrest on July 18, 2011, Hedrick was found to be in possession of a laptop and two external hard drives that contained more than 2,400 images and 18 videos of child pornography, 117 of which matched those sent to the undercover detectives during the chat sessions.
 
The images and videos found in Hedrick’s possession depicted children as young as infants being sexually assaulted and subjected to acts of anal and oral sex, bondage and bestiality.
 
A number of the images had been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as known victims of sexual assault.
 
Hedrick was linked to the online alias “David Anderson” or “sftg007” through IP addresses assigned to his Yahoo account by Sprint. Records revealed that each time Hedrick would contact the undercover detectives, he was logged into his Yahoo account and Sprint internet service.
 
Hedrick’s Sprint phone records verified he received a phone call from the undercover detective in Louisiana at the same time the audio recording was made. The same phone number was found on a preprinted Pan American Airways luggage tag attached to the laptop bag recovered from his residence and in two ads placed online for a lost dog.
 
The defense attempted to convince the jury that Hedrick was set up by any one of a number of family members or business associates.
 
During four hours of testimony, Hedrick varied between a family history that included his mother’s humanitarian work in Africa and his father being a member of the CIA and his projections that his company was worth hundreds of millions of dollars despite the fact that it did not have any customers or active contracts.
 
Hedrick contended that any number of people could have had access to his computers to conduct the chat sessions and could have made it appear that he placed the phone call by piecing together parts of recorded conversations.
 
On cross-examination, Hedrick admitted the voice on the phone call was his and that it was him masturbating on the webcam video. He also admitted that the laptop and external hard drives were his and were in his possession on the date of his arrest and that the hard drives contained images of child pornography.
 
Hedrick also admitted that the images uploaded during the chat sessions were obscene or were images depicting child pornography.
 
Hedrick faces up to 60 years in federal prison and must register as a sex offender when he is sentenced on August 27th.. 
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