KPD officer: former UT official admitted to molesting boys

KPD officer: former UT official admitted to molesting boys

Bruce Downsbrough (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office) Bruce Downsbrough (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A former University of Tennessee official made a shocking revelation during questioning by police on child porn charges.

Bruce Downsbrough, 60, was arrested last Tuesday after allegedly downloading child pornography from out-of-state. He now faces four federal child pornography charges.

Officials said he had received in the mail or downloaded 20,000 pictures and videos of child porn on his computer, all organized and categorized.

At a hearing Monday, Knoxville Police Department Investigator Tom Evans testified that Downsbrough admitted that he molested as much as five boys in the past.

The former UT Foundation official was fired from the position last week, after authorities seized a laptop computer, two external hard drives and 19 digital video disks from his home in November 2012.

Evans said he told them he had two previous charges of child molestation stemming from an incident in 1986 in Boulder, Colo. in which he molested two boys.

Evans testified that Downsbrough told him he paid between $3,000 and $3,500 for counseling for the two boys.

In one case he was given a two-year deferred sentence, and the case was eventually dismissed.

In the second case, he was charged with sexual assault in the third degree. The court was unable to determine the outcome of the case.

Downsbrough told investigators he was once employed by American Boychoir School, located in Princeton, New Jersey.

He said when school administrators became aware of molestation allegations, he was dismissed from position, according to the testimony.   

Downsbrough also told investigators he may have molested a boy when he was 18 years old.

Downsbrough said that he kept large amounts of pornography as a means to prevent from contacting young boys, using them "as a crutch."

Downsbrough's attorney Phil Lomonaco called George Downsbrough Jr., Bruce's older brother as a witness.

George Downsbrough told the court that the two were not close, and that he had not contemplated letting his younger brother stay with him, if he was released from jail before the trial.

Ann Siddell, a friend of Bruce Downsbrough was also called to testify, offering to let Bruce stay at his home if he was released from jail.

After more than two hours of testimony, Judge C. Clifford Shirley ruled that Downsbrough should be held in jail until the trial date. 

Judge Shirley ruled that Downsbrough is considered a flight risk and a danger to the community, weighing in on the factors of his past, and the thousands of files of child pornography.

Shirley ruled taking away child pornography, as a condition of release, could actually increase the potential for contact offenses, since Downbrough admitted to using child porn to avoid contacting children.

Shirley also noted that Downsbrough applied for a passport last week after his original was taken away by federal authorities as part of the investigation.

Downsbrough nor his attorney told the court why he applied for a new passport.

The court ruled this gave the appearance that Downsbrough would flea the area, or intend to move back to Colorado.

Downsbrough told investigators he owns a home valued at $750,000 in Breckenridge, Colo. and visits an average of 10 days a month.

Downsbrough is being held without bond until the next court date, which has not been set.

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