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Ex-chief pleads guilty to child porn



September 24, 2001

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Ex-chief pleads guilty to child porn

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by Brian Rogers
Odessa (Texas) American

MIDLAND — A day after resigning as chief of the Odessa Police Department, James Jenkins, 57, pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of possession of child pornography in Midland Federal Court.

At a 12:30 p.m. hearing in Federal Magistrate L. Stuart Platt’s court, Jenkins entered his plea, an admittance of possessing more than 10 pictures of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Wearing a tweed jacket and flanked by two attorneys, Jenkins shook hands with the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Tom Beery, after the proceedings.

Odessa attorney Bill Bowden is representing Jenkins in the criminal case and Kevin Bartley is handling Jenkins’ pending divorce. Jenkins quietly answered Platt’s questions saying he understood the procedures and wanted to waive any rights to trial or appeal.

Just above a whisper, Jenkins said, “Guilty” when asked how he wanted to plead.

Jenkins downloaded the pictures from the Internet on his computer, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. After the hearing, Jenkins was processed by the U.S. Marshal’s office and released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.

Platt said Jenkins would not have to come up with the money, but would be liable for it if he missed any future court appearances.

In setting the conditions of Jenkins’ release, Platt said Jenkins would have to resign all law commissions and that he cannot possess any firearms. Platt also asked if Jenkins had ever had problems with alcohol abuse. Bowden said Jenkins had struggled with alcohol in the past and said Jenkins should be prohibited from using it.

Addressing Jenkins as “Chief,” Platt said he did not want Jenkins to sink into depression regarding his circumstances.

“My main concern, Chief, is that you not get depressed,” Platt said. “You seem to be a strong man. But none of us are above the stress you’re feeling.” Jenkins nodded his acknowledgement.

Platt also said Jenkins would be allowed to keep a computer in his home as long as it was not connected to the Internet or any network.

Jenkins faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. He will be sentenced Nov. 28.

According to the press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the U.S. Customs service began investigating Jenkins on June 26 when his estranged wife, Sandra Jenkins, turned over Jenkin’s computer to authorities. Jenkins and his wife are going through divorce proceedings and no longer live in the same house.

The proceedings Friday followed Jenkins’ abrupt retirement Thursday morning.

After more than two weeks on vacation, Jenkins turned in a letter saying he would no longer work in active law enforcement.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, the interim chief, John Blanco, and City Manager Jerry McGuire both said they had limited knowledge of the investigation for three weeks.

McGuire said Jenkins’ pension would not be affected by the conviction. Jenkin’s annual salary was $90,276 plus $5,100 a year for auto expenses as chief of police.





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