A former Lexington firefighter charged with receiving child pornography downloaded videos and photographs onto his computer for a year while he worked the third shift at a city fire station, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
Federal investigators said they discovered about 50 videos and more than 100 photographs of child pornography on Eric J. Bradley's laptop, according to the affidavit. Bradley allegedly obtained the material from December 2007 through December 2008 while connected to the cable Internet at the Lexington fire station at 1098 South Cleveland Road, investigators said.
Bradley, 37, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Nicholasville. He is being held at the Fayette County jail.
Bradley's court-appointed attorney, Thomas Lyons, said his client has not been indicted, but he expects that to happen. He said Bradley "will most definitely plead not guilty" at the appropriate time and emphasized that his client should be presumed innocent.
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Bradley became a Lexington firefighter in September 2000, city spokeswoman Susan Straub said. Bradley had been on paid administrative leave since July 3. Straub referred questions about Bradley's leave to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The attorney's office declined to comment.
The city began an investigation of Bradley on July 28, the day that FBI agent Mary Trotman filed a criminal complaint against Bradley in U.S. District Court, Straub said. Bradley resigned Thursday, and the city's investigation ended.
The Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services requires its employees to sign an Internet and e-mail use policy that outlines proper procedures for using city-provided Internet. The division updated the 12-page document in 2007 and required all employees to sign a copy, Straub said. Bradley signed the agreement Oct. 3, 2007.
The policy states that acceptable Internet use should be primarily work-related and "must be responsible, legal and ethical," the policy states.
It also requires employees to register their private computers with the division if they use a city Internet connection. Straub said Bradley did not register.
However, the document does not address the use of computers on Internet connections not affiliated with the city. The agreement states that the division will provide Internet connections and e-mail to its employees, but the firefighters at the station where Bradley worked collectively paid for their own Internet service, according to the affidavit. Straub said the city is investigating why the firefighters did not use the city's Internet connection.
The investigation that led to Bradley's arrest began in October 2008. Attorney general investigator Thomas Bell focused on the exchange of child pornography in Lexington through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, the affidavit states. He identified computers involved in the activity by their Internet protocol addresses, the numeric address given to a computer connected to the Internet.
During the investigation, Bell observed that an IP address assigned to the Cleveland Road fire station had "a large amount of files" that probably were child pornography, the affidavit states.
Bell and fellow attorney general investigator Kathryn Reed went to the station June 3 to examine any personally owned computers that belonged to the firefighters on duty. Bradley and acting supervisor Charles Stamper signed written consent forms that allowed Bell and Reed to search their computers, the affidavit states. Bell discovered that Bradley's Toshiba Satellite laptop contained digital identifiers that matched a computer Bell identified during his investigation as displaying child pornography. The material was downloaded from the LimeWire file-sharing network.
Bradley denied any knowledge of child pornography on the computer. But "Bradley indicated he was the sole user of the computer with the exception of his 14-year-old son and that he had no Internet service at his residence" in Nicholasville, the affidavit states.
Attorney general investigator Bill Baker performed a forensic examination of Bradley's laptop. Baker reported on July 21 that Bradley's laptop contained videos and photographs that showed children between 2 and 12 years old involved in sexual acts, the affidavit states. The majority of the children appeared to be younger than 8 years old.
The examination also showed that Bradley had allegedly used search terms within LimeWire that are associated with child pornography, the affidavit states.
Straub declined to comment about when the city discovered that there was an investigation into inappropriate Internet use. She said monitoring activity associated with child pornography is difficult and could occur in any workplace.
"It's a problem throughout our society," she said.