Jury deliberates on felony child-porn charges against former CEO | SummitDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Jury deliberates on felony child-porn charges against former CEO

ROBERT ALLEN
summit daily news
Dennis Flint
ALL |

Editor’s Note: Child pornography charges were eventually dismissed.

BRECKENRIDGE – A 12-member jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon on a verdict for Dennis Flint, the former health care CEO accused of two felonies of child-pornography possession.

Each charge carries a penalty of two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $5,000. The trial’s outcome was not available at press time.

The case involves information found on computer hard drives the FBI acquired from the Flint family home in 2006. The computer equipment was taken after investigators received a tip from Flint’s ex-wife Dawn, who installed hidden software that recorded screenshots.

The evidence – which included graphic, sexual images of children as young as 3 years old – was turned over to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office after it was determined there was no connection to an interstate network.

Dennis Flint, 55, was arrested in March 2009. He soon lost his job as CEO at High Country Health Care.

After pleading “not guilty” and spending about $84,000 on a private attorney, Flint exhausted his finances and the public defender took over the case earlier this year.

The trial began June 21 and included testimony from computer forensics experts, local residents and both Dennis and Dawn Flint.

Dennis Flint testified on Tuesday morning before closing arguments. Attorneys on both sides addressed that early in the case, he’d told FBI investigators that “stuff pops up” and “surfing the Net is surfing the Net.”

“There are a lot of pretty weird pop-ups,” Flint said, responding to questions from prosecutor Anne Francis. “You could be looking at a sports website and stuff pops up.”

Francis asked whether a pornographic image of a 3-year-old would pop on a sports site, and Flint replied, “No.”

Flint said in his testimony that he never searched for or possessed any child-porn images. His friends on Monday testified that Dawn Flint was dishonest, “bitter” and “spiteful.”

Public defender Dana Christiansen asked Flint about his unsuccessful efforts to reconcile with Dawn a year after their July 2007 divorce. Dennis Flint said that until his 2009 arrest, he didn’t know Dawn was the one who installed the hidden software that led to the criminal charges.

“I wanted to get my family back together,” he said.

In closing arguments Christiansen pointed out inconsistencies in Dawn Flint’s testimony regarding timing of events and whether she’d told family and co-workers about the charges against Dennis. He questioned whether friends or neighbors could have been persuaded to enter the home and looked up the images, in effect framing Dennis.

Francis said an angry wife could find easier ways to frame a husband.

“This is not a case of revenge or a woman’s scorn,” Francis said, adding that the evident downloading of more than 100 images of pornography involving under-developed kids for several hours was not a set-up.

She said spending extended lengths of time accessing child porn on three occasions then trying to cover tracks by deleting digital “cookies” doesn’t seem likely.

“She had nothing to gain,” Francis said.

The dates of the alleged child porn downloads are July 21 and 25 in 2006, while Flint was living in Blue River. He said he was at a friend’s birthday party in Frisco on July 21, and friends testified to support that alibi.

Flint said he couldn’t remember where he was July 25.

Francis said it was “remarkable” how Flint’s friends who testified were able to know what time people left the Frisco party on June 21, especially since Flint was able to talk with them before the trial.

“Are you going to remember when your friends left after four years? Four years?” Francis said. “Memories do fade.”

She said children of ages 3, 6, 10 and 12 – as described by investigators – are actual victims getting exploited.

“Everyone calls it images,” she said. “But these aren’t just images. These are real children … being posed and manipulated for people like Mr. Flint.”

Christiansen said the criminal investigation lacked strong evidence. For example, at the time of Flint’s arrest about three years after the child porn was discovered, neither his office nor home computers were taken.

“The (Sheriff’s Office) did nothing other than arrest Flint,” Christiansen said, adding that family, co-workers and neighbors weren’t interviewed.

Since February, local agencies have been investigating allegations made by Dennis Flint that Dawn had forged checks and stole as much as $10,600 from him near the times the child porn was discovered, according to previous reports in the Summit Daily.

This information was not made available to jurors.

Chief District Judge Terry Ruckriegle on Tuesday denied a request by the defense to ask questions during Flint’s testimony that may have led to discussion of those allegations, which have not resulted in criminal charges.

The jury of seven women and five men began deliberation at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and continued into the evening.

Dennis Flint is a Summit High School graduate. The Summit Foundation recognized him with an “outstanding citizen” award about four months before his arrest on the child-porn charges in March 2009.

He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1977 and served as a pilot in the Air Force.

Flint has no previous felony convictions.

Caitlin Row contributed to this story. SDN reporter Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User