HOUSTON - (WARNING: Some details in this story may be disturbing to readers.)
A former Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy going to prison for possession of child pornography.
A judge sentenced Donald Thomas Dehnert to 10 years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.
Dehnert, 50, pleaded guilty in exchange for letting the judge determine punishment. He was facing a sentence ranging from probation to 10 years in prison and received the maximum.
"When a peace officer violates their position of trust, they are going from protector to predator," Ogg said in a statement. "And we work hard to bring them to justice, not just for their victims but for the entire community."
Dehnert was arrested on four counts of possession of child pornography on March 28, 2018, as part of a joint sting operation undertaken by the Grand Prairie Police Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Texas Rangers and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
ORIGINAL STORY: Deputy charged with child pornography, relieved of duty
According to the DA's office, he came under suspicion and a warrant was issued to search his home based on an online undercover investigation where the defendant solicited sex with an undercover officer’s 5- and 11-year-old daughters.
Dehnert admitted to having child pornography on a flash drive that was found at his home in Kingwood. He said he deleted the images, but forensics investigators were able to retrieve them.
The flash drive had photos of nude children under two years old and a girl who appeared to be between six and eight years old. One image showed the girl appearing to perform a sexual act.
Dehnert joined HCSO in 1992 and was relieved of duty when he was arrested, according to the agency.