Child porn charge dropped against OS alderman James Hagan - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Child porn charge dropped against OS alderman James Hagan

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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

It was almost exactly a year ago when Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan was arrested  and charged with child molestation and embezzlement. Friday, the state dropped the final remaining charge against him, saying there just wasn't enough evidence to prove Hagan did anything wrong.

James Hagan had been charged with one count of touching a child for lustful purposes, related to a 15-year-old girl he knew. He was also charged with one count of embezzlement of publicly owned equipment, which was his city issued laptop.

At the time of his arrest, investigators with the sheriff's department seized two computers from his home. After they were scanned by a forensic expert, Hagan was charged with an additional count of possession of child pornography.

According to court documents, investigators discovered a video file on the laptop titled "Bathtime with Daddy." It showed a little girl, who appeared to be under the age of four, being sexually abused by an adult male.

The examination of the laptop reveled the file was created on December 3, 2009, and was accessed only one more time, 11 minutes after it was created.

"The Defendant did not manufacture or create this video. In fact, the forensic examination was unable to determine the means by which the subject file was created on the laptop," the District Attorney's Office stated in a motion filed Friday.

It continued, "The State cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant willfully created and viewed the video in question especially in light that it was only viewed once at the time of creation."

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said Friday his deputies did their jobs in arresting Hagan.

"We arrested someone who had child pornography on a computer. We stand by the arrest," Byrd said.

Hagan's attorney, Adam Miller, had a different take. "This is one of the worst cases of abuse of law enforcement authority that I've ever seen," Miller told WLOX News.

Miller said from the very beginning, they maintained that Hagan was innocent of all the charges. And even though the record will show he was never prosecuted, the damage to his reputation is immeasurable.

"I think there are parts of his life that he can never get back. He was arrested, charged, and lost his job on false allegations made by the sheriff's department. I think that the personal and financial toll has taken a devastating effect on his life and family and can never be repaired."

The child porn charge was the one remaining charge facing Hagan. A Grand Jury had already cleared him of the other two charges.

Throughout the investigation, Hagan never resigned his position as a city alderman. Mississippi law only requires elected officials to resign if they are convicted of a crime.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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