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Chester man now faces child porn charges


BRENTWOOD - A Chester man charged with sexually assaulting a young girl in the early 1990s will be indicted for possessing child pornography on his computer, according to his lawyer.

The indictment will be the latest in a slew of charges against Gary Britton, who was arrested in September 2011 for failing to register as a sex offender.

Britton, a former Lion's Club president and contractor hired by the town of Chester, is being held at the county jail, awaiting trial on charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault and being a felon in possession of a weapon.

The new charges came to light when public defenders filed a motion requesting state funds so that Britton's computer could be forensically examined by a defense expert.

Allegations about Britton, 61, having child pornography on his computer have surfaced in court documents and testimony for months, but the request by defense lawyers is the first acknowledgment that actual charges will be brought forward.

In December, public defenders told Judge N. William Delker they would explore a possible plea deal for Britton that would resolve his two pending cases instead of taking them to trial.

He is currently serving a 12-month jail sentence after pleading guilty for failing to register as a sex offender.

A grand jury indicted him in August on two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of felonious sexual assault.

The defense wants Britton's computer examined so it can determine for itself when "questionable pornographic images" were placed on a computer's desktop screen.

A landlord had turned on the computer and saw the images after Britton had been evicted for failing to pay his rent, according to police.

Prosecutors say that police learned that Britton began sexually assaulting a girl in 1991 after investigators forensically examined the computer. The assaults continued until 1995, indictments say.

If convicted at trial, Britton could face between 20 to 40 years in state prison on each of the sexual assault charges. He faces a felon in possession of a weapon charge for possessing a handgun that police Chief William Burke found while police were executing a search warrant of the apartment.

The gun was in a sealed plastic bag stored on top of a dresser mirror. Britton was barred from owning a gun for being convicted in 1983 of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

jkimble@newstote.com

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