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Child porn suspect says, 'You got me'

POSTED: July 22, 2013 7:40 p.m.
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Ronald Mullins

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A Guyton man was arrested Thursday night after investigators found more than a hundred images of child pornography on his home computer.


Ronald Mullins, 50, was charged with sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.


Members of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched Mullins’ home on Barrister Circle and found photos and videos of child pornography on his computer. The images were of boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 12, investigators said.


“He said to us, ‘I know why you’re here. It’s all on this computer,’” said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “He admitted he is sick in the head. He said he’s been doing this for two or three years now and he knows he has a problem.”


It was disturbing news to Michele Padula, who lives two houses down from Mullins in the Barrister Crossing subdivision. She has three daughters, ages 8, 5 and 3.


“They’re right in the little sicko’s age range,” Padula said.


The ICAC Task Force “flagged” Mullins’ computer IP address for having downloaded porn and “watched him for a couple weeks” before getting the search warrant, Ehsanipoor said. Deputies seized computers and other electronic equipment during the search.


Mullins and his wife had recently moved to Effingham County from Florida. They moved into the Barrister Circle house on June 1, according to the landlord.


Neighbor Casandra Martins, the mother of a 16-year-old boy, was thankful Mullins was arrested before he spent any more time in Barrister Crossing, where children often play outside. Crime statistics show that child molesters often begin by watching child pornography, to build their courage to commit a more serious crime.


“He didn’t actually put his hands on anybody, but (child porn) is an open gate to do that to somebody,” Martins said. “There are kids all over this neighborhood, so obviously there’s plenty here for him to gawk at if that’s what he likes to do. But we’re not going to have any of that in this neighborhood.”


Mullins is being held in the Effingham County Jail. He had his first court appearance Friday, and Effingham County Magistrate Court Judge Rhonda Sexton set Mullins’ bond at $95,000.


“That is one of the higher bonds I’ve seen for child pornography,” Ehsanipoor said.


According to investigators, Mullins has no interest in anyone posting bond to release him from jail.


“When we were taking him to jail, he said to his wife, ‘Don’t bond me out,’” Ehsanipoor said.


Mullins’ admission of guilt during the search of his home might seem surprising, but investigators say that type of candidness is fairly typical of the child porn suspects the ECSO arrests.


“This guy knew that he was caught, and what can he say? He really has no defense,” Ehsanipoor said. “Most of these people we catch, they know they’re caught red-handed. And more times than not, they admit it.”


Along those lines, Ehsanipoor said, most of the county’s child porn cases do not go to trial. Because the evidence is so strong against them, the suspects typically enter guilty pleas.


“They can’t say, ‘Somebody was using my IP address,’” he said. “When we have an IP address that’s flagged, and we get the search warrant and we have their computer, then they’re caught dead to rights.”


The ICAC Task Force will continue to investigate Mullins, Ehsanipoor said, to determine the sources of the child porn he downloaded and exactly how long he had been doing it. He added that Mullins could “very likely” be charged with additional crimes, including possible federal charges.


“This guy has been doing this for at least two or three years now and he has only lived in Effingham County for a few weeks,” Ehsanipoor said, “so obviously this is going to go outside the state of Georgia and it’s very possible it will be prosecuted in federal court.”

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