Reality Check: Why an accused child sex predator was able to walk free for two years
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
Bryan Thompson is accused of sexually abusing a six year old and creating child pornography with that victim. NBC 15's Andrea Ramey spent the day investigating what went wrong with this case.
Investigators literally had the evidence at their fingertips, but no one bothered to look at it for more than two years. When they did, they were horrified by the sexual abuse a six year old had endured.
November 2015, state investigators seized Bryan Thompson's computer in Grand Bay after receiving a tip from his internet provider child porn was being uploaded from his computer, but it wasn't until this week that Thompson was finally arrested.
"Horribly and I think unconscionably it took two years to get that computer analyzed and returned," said Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson.
Patterson says the tip was regarding possession of child porn but when the computer was finally analyzed, horrifying images of Thompson forcing a six year old into pornographic acts were discovered.
"I have no evidence of what's happened in the intervening two years, but in my experience if someone is molesting a child and has access to that child on a continuing basis, it is more likely than not that the abuse continues," said Patterson.
We called and emailed various agencies including ALEA, which seized the computer, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and Homeland Security, which was also involved in this case. We had one question: why did it take so long?
Late in the day, ALEA responded with essentially no response by referring us back to the press release, which of course doesn't explain why it took two years.
Patterson's not entirely sure why it took so long but in part blamed a lack of funding and personnel.
"It's a problem we have all over the state. The dept. of forensics if behind on all sorts of things. We've cut 6,000 state employees off the payrolls in the last 10 years due to budget cuts," said Rep. Chris Pringle.
Pringle is in charge of a new committee tasked with weeding out waste and bringing more accountability to state government.
"We're going to start looking at every penny and where it's going and how it's being spent to see if we can redirect some funds to some of the shortfalls," said Pringle.
We will continue to follow this case and keep asking why there was such a lag time until we get an answer.