An ex-prosecutor from the USA has been arrested after authorities found more than 150 videos and images showing sexual abuse of prepubescent girls in his possession.
Former Payne County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Etherington, 53, from the city of Stillwater, in Oklahoma, USA, was taken into custody on Monday, 28th November.
He was reportedly charged with one count of aggravated possession of child pornography and one count of violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act (OCCA) after authorities found over 150 videos and images depicting the sexual abuse of children in his possession.
Etherington reportedly became a target of investigation after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) forwarded 14 cyber tips, linked to a single suspect, to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit.
OSBI said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “The investigation identified Kevin Etherington as a possible suspect related to the cybertips.
“Etherington is currently the First Assistant District Attorney for Payne and Logan Counties.”
Two and a half months into the investigation, on 28th November, ICAC crews searched Etherington’s home in Stillwater after obtaining a warrant.
After they discovered the grotesque photo and video footage showing sexual abuse of prepubescent girls, he was arrested and booked to the Payne County jail.
According to a sworn affidavit of probable cause, detectives found “at least 153 videos, screenshots, and photos of prepubescent girls being sexually abused and exploited.”
The account, its IP address and the email address all belonged and were directly connected to Etherington.
Following the 53-year-old man’s arrest, Payne County District Attorney Laura Thomas issued a statement in which she claimed he had been sacked from the District Attorney’s office after having worked there for eight years.
Thomas added: “Since called to prosecution nearly 38 years ago, much of my career has involved crimes against children and advocacy on their behalf.
“My offices have zealously prosecuted this crime and I, personally, find the manufacture, distribution and possession of child pornography to be both disgusting and incredibly damaging to individual victims and society.
“While the accused stands innocent of the alleged crime until proven guilty, my review of the investigation has resulted in this person’s dismissal from employment by my office.”
Thomas also stated that it would not be appropriate for her office to prosecute the case and asked Attorney General John O’Connor to assign the case to an outside District Attorney’s office.
She said: “Again, I cannot express how dismayed and disappointed I am about this development.
“This office will not make further comments in this matter so as to not jeopardize prosecution by another District Attorney.”
Etherington was an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County until 2013, when he was sacked after it was revealed that he was married to a coworker while having an affair with another colleague at the same time.
The investigation continues.