A Knoxville, Tenn., resident with ties to Breckenridge is in custody without bond pending trial in federal district court on charges of possessing child pornography.
Bruce O. Downsbrough, 60, is charged in federal court in the eastern district of Tennessee with four counts of possession of child pornography.
Downsbrough, formerly chief executive officer of the University of Tennessee Foundation, was ordered late last month to jail by U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley until trial begins. Shirley cited testimony by Knoxville Police Department investigators that Downsbrough admitted to molesting as many as five boys in the past, according to a Knoxville News Sentinel report.
“Taking away child pornography (as a condition of release) could actually increase the potential for contact offenses,” Shirley said in the News Sentinel report.
At least two of those alleged five previous molestation incidents took place in Colorado, where Downsbrough owns two lots in the Valley of the Blue subdivision in Breckenridge, according to Summit County Assessor’s Office data.
In 1986 Downsbrough pleaded guilty in Colorado to sexual assault on a child and third-degree sexual assault, according to Tennessee federal district court testimony. The victims were ages 10 and 11 at the time.
In one instance, Downsbrough received a two-year deferred sentence, and the case was eventually dismissed. In the second case, he was sentenced to two years of probation, according to Tennessee federal district court testimony.
It is unclear whether the probation conviction remains on Downsbrough’s record, which could play a significant role in his sentencing if convicted in Tennessee.
According to the statutory sentencing range for simple possession of child pornography, a conviction carries a penalty of zero to 10 years in prison. The statutory penalty is raised in cases where a suspect has a prior conviction for a covered sex offense.
A covered sex offense is when, upon conviction, a suspect is required to register as a sex offender in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006.
Downsbrough first came under investigation in November 2012 when U.S. Department of Justice officials searched his Knoxville home. He remained employed by the University of Tennessee during the follow-up investigation.
Downsbrough was terminated as University of Tennessee Foundation CEO last month when a federal grand jury returned the four-count indictment against him. The indictment alleges Downsbrough either received in the mail or downloaded more than 20,000 child pornography images and videos.