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NCO guilty of possessing child porn

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN) -- A 607th Air and Space Communications Squadron noncommissioned officer was found guilty of taking indecent liberties with a minor and possession of child pornography by a military judge during a general court-martial here Feb. 10.

Staff Sgt. Gery B. Cook pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted sodomy, and guilty to four specifications of attempting to take indecent liberties with a child younger than 16 and the possession of child pornography.

Cook elected to have his case tried by military judge alone. The judge found him not guilty of the charge of attempted sodomy and guilty of the remainder of the charges. He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 18 months confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

Capts. Matt Jarreau and Matthew Hoyer prosecuted the case for the Air Force, and Capts. Stacey Vetter and Melanie Keiper defended Cook.

After receiving information from local authorities in North Carolina, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations began conducting an investigation of allegations that Cook was communicating sexually explicit language and photographs via e-mail with someone he believed to be younger than 16. In fact, Cook was communicating with an undercover AFOSI agent who was posing as a 14-year-old girl via e-mail. Cook was apprehended at the main gate here when he attempted to meet with the alleged young girl. During the investigation, AFOSI also found 17 images and six video clips of child pornography.

A federal conviction can adversely affect a person's right to vote, carry firearms, sit as a juror, hold certain governmental jobs, and obtain certain professional licenses, said officials. If the convening authority approves the conviction and sentence, Cook's criminal act will bring an end to his Air Force career and his federal conviction will have long-lasting impact upon him, according to 51st Fighter Wing legal officials here.

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