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Home » News » Crime

February 17. 2013 9:06PM

Chester man faces additional child sex abuse charges

Gary Britton, 61, of Chester was indicted on 15 counts of possession of child sexual abuse images in Rockingham County Superior Court. (COURTESY)

BRENTWOOD - A Chester man already facing charges he sexually assaulted a young girl in the 1990s has been charged with possessing child pornography, prosecutors said.

Gary Britton was indicted on 15 counts of possession of child sexual abuse images, which could keep him in state prison for the rest of his life if he is convicted.

Consecutive sentences could bring a minimum term of 115 years if Britton is convicted, according to indictments.

Prosecutors say Britton, 61, had a variety of images and videos on his home computer showing children engaging in sexual acts.

The images were discovered by his landlords in September 2011, prompting Chester police to seize the computer and have it forensically examined.

New charges against Britton came to light more than a week ago when public defenders petitioned a judge for state-approved funds so a forensic exam could be performed on Britton's computer.

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.

The indictments were made public Thursday.

Allegations about Britton having child pornography on his computer appeared in court documents and testimony for months.

Public defenders acknowledged in court papers that they would explore a plea deal for Britton, but it's unclear whether the latest indictments could upend that effort.

Britton is 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.

Chester police initially arrested Britton for failure to re-register as a sex offender. Britton was evicted from his apartment on the same day - for unpaid rent - which set off a wider police investigation.

His landlords began going through Britton's belongings and turned on his computer, police said. They discovered the pornography on the computer and called police.

An examination of the computer provided information to police that Britton began sexually assaulting a girl in 1991, according to prosecutors. The girl was 9 years old when the series of assaults began, and continued until 1995, indictments say.

Each of the sexual assault charges are punishable by up to 20 to 40 years in state prison. 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.

Britton was barred from owning a gun for being convicted in 1983 of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

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