Morgan County man pleads guilty to child porn charges

Morgan County man pleads guilty to child porn charges

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Tommy Lee Waugh (source: TBI) Tommy Lee Waugh (source: TBI)

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Morgan County man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges of producing child pornography.

Tommy Lee Waugh, 29, of Wartburg entered the plea before Chief District Judge Thomas Varlan in Knoxville.

According to court records, Waugh admitted to producing child pornography with a 6-week-old female relative. Officials say he took five to seven still photos of a sexual nature. No video was taken.

Waugh also pleaded guilty to a SORNA violation as a registered sex offender.

Waugh waived his right to an indictment.

The Knoxville Police Department said its Internet Crime Unit got a cyber tip in July that led to Waugh's arrest. The tip was considered to be priority 1, which allowed the department to locate Waugh within 24 hours.

"Because of the nature of a cyber priority 1 tip and the potential for there to be the on-going abuse of a child, it allows us to get information more quickly than in other cases," KPD Lt. Warren Hamlin said.

Hamlin said once confronted, Waugh at first denied the crime, then later admitted to it.

"Initially, he was not forthcoming with admitting to anything. Later on in the evening or afternoon he did confess to the crime," Hamlin said.

KPD said the mother was also in the home, but it's believed she did not have knowledge of the illegal activity. However, because it is an on-going investigation, the child was placed into DCS care.

According to the TBI Sex Offender Registry, Waugh was charged with aggravated statutory rape in 2010 and sexual exploitation of a minor in 2009.

"These cases are hard to deal with," Hamlin said. "I feel like we get a greater satisfaction our of making an arrest and saving a child from these circumstances."

Waugh's sentencing date is scheduled for April 9, 2014.

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