City firefighter charged with child pornography

Northwest Baltimore man, 54, arrested Friday and faces 10 counts of possessing and distributing child porn

May 08, 2010|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore firefighter has been charged with 10 counts of possessing and distributing child pornography after detectives found explicit files being shared from his computer over an online peer-to-peer network, court records show.

Philip Hodge, 54, of the 2200 block of Deerfern Crescent in Northwest Baltimore, was arrested Friday and released after posting $50,000 bond. Police wrote in charging documents that Hodge admitted that he had downloaded child pornography, and a search of his home computer revealed additional files.

The investigation began in October 2009, when a Delaware (Pa.) County police detective conducted an investigation to identify people possessing and sharing child pornography using the Gnutella network, which allows users to browse and download files made available by others.

The detective searched for a keyword often associated with image and video files of child pornography, and found two suspected files of child pornography associated with a computer later traced to Hodge's address, police said. The files depicted two children engaged in sex acts, and an older man having sex with a young girl, records show.

The case was referred to the Maryland State Police's Internet Crimes Against Children for Maryland, and on March 25, city detectives executed a search and seizure warrant at Hodge's address. He acknowledged to police that he used the Limewire program to download music and adult pornography, and under questioning described one child pornography video that he had downloaded, police said.

But a search of his computer revealed additional images, with graphic file names that described the ages of the victims and the sexual acts depicted, charging documents show.

Hodge joined the Fire Department in 2005 as a firefighter paramedic apprentice, according to department records and City Council minutes from a meeting at which his graduating class was recognized.

Fire Department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright confirmed that Hodge was an active member but said he did not have enough information to comment further. He said suspensions are typical in such situations.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/justin_fenton



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