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Police detective who was given 'Hero of Child Protection' award arrested on child pornography charges

Christopher Bryant, 46, is facing charges of transportation of child pornography and made his initial appearance in court last week
(Ruidoso Police Department)
(Ruidoso Police Department)

RUIDOSO, NEW MEXICO: A New Mexico police officer who had previously been praised and awarded for his work in protecting children has been arrested on child pornography charges. Christopher Bryant, 46, of Ruidoso, New Mexico, has been accused of finding child pornography on the internet and taking screenshots of three images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of New Mexico.

Bryant, who is a detective in the Ruidoso Police Department, allegedly took the screenshots between August 13 and August 17 and then sent the images to himself by email. It is unclear how the 46-year-old came under suspicion, but the allegations were reportedly verified following an investigation by the FBI, who were assisted by the RPD.

When questioned, Bryant claimed he intended to send the photos to law enforcement for investigation but then deleted them because "they could not be tracked." His arrest comes a little over a year after he was recognized and awarded as a Law Enforcement Hero of Child Protection by a state agency, reported KVIA.

In a social media post in April 2019, the Ruidoso Police Department had publicly congratulated the detective for receiving the award and uploaded a picture of him posing with the commemorative plaque he had been given for his service.

Ruidoso made his initial appearance in federal court in Las Cruces on Thursday, August 27, on charges of transportation of child pornography. He remains in custody and is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday, September 1, for preliminary and detention hearings.

MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported on a similar case where a Pennsylvania police officer was arrested for allegedly filming himself having sex with a teen and then uploading the videos online. Joshua Padilla, an officer at the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office, was arrested in February 2019 by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and Pennsylvania Police on felony child porn and sex assault charges stemming from events that unfolded the previous Spring.

Padilla had come to the attention of authorities after they were made aware of his relationship with a 17-year-old girl in Northampton County. Having met her online sometime in April or May 2018, he then allegedly recorded himself engaging in sexual acts with the teen and uploaded the videos to an adult website where they were watched and shared by several others.

To catch Padilla in the act, investigators set up a trap where an undercover officer posed as a 14-year-old girl and began texting him. He responded and began sending her sexually explicit messages where he said he would perform sexual acts on her. At one point, sent her two photos of his genitals and then asked her for photos of herself.

Following his arrest, he was charged with unlawful contact with a minor, obscene materials and other sexual performances, and sexual abuse of children — manufacturing, disseminating and possessing child pornography. The charges are first, second, and third-degree felonies respectively..