Crime

What they found on his computer will keep man in jail for now

Philip Spear is led in handcuffs from a home on Temple Terrace in Ocean Springs after a Sept. 8 search allegedly turned up evidence of child pornography on his computer.
Philip Spear is led in handcuffs from a home on Temple Terrace in Ocean Springs after a Sept. 8 search allegedly turned up evidence of child pornography on his computer. ttisbell@sunherald.com

A 59-year-old Ocean Springs man accused of sharing child pornography online, including video that allegedly shows him engaged in a sex act with a teen girl, will remain in jail without bond until a federal grand jury decides whether to formally charge him.

U.S. marshals hauled Philip Spear into court in shackles Friday, where he faced U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker. Spear, through his attorney, J.D. Taylor of Pascagoula, agreed the government had a right to detain him as a risk to the community, waiving detention and preliminary hearings.

Within 30 days, a grand jury is expected to decide whether enough evidence exists to charge Spear with a crime or crimes.

Spear’s son wanted to speak with him, but Walker said they could talk only if the Marshals Service had time to set up and oversee a meeting. The son declined to talk with a Sun Herald reporter after the hearing.

Spear was arrested after authorities searched his house Sept. 8 and signed a complaint that accuses him of possessing child pornography.

Authorities were able to secure the search warrant because an undercover officer discovered and investigated computer files, available for download, with an internet address traced to Spear. The officer found 97 files that had titles associated with child pornography, including “2YO,” “babyJ,” and “toddler.”

The titles were available from Oct. 7, 2015 through July 10, 2016, according to a sworn statement signed by Richard Johnson, an officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force.

The officer downloaded and viewed one file, with a caption that described a 9-year-old, showing a prepubescent girl’s private parts as an adult male molested her.

During the search, investigators found several child-pornography videos on Spear’s computer, Johnson said. Johnson said the officers also found a video of a female child performing oral sex on Spear. The girl, whom Spear knows, appeared to be 15 or 16 years old, Johnson said. Spear also has access to other children, the statement said.

When officers interviewed Spear, Johnson said, he “admitted he has had a sexual interest in children since he was 12 years old.”

Spear also said he had used the acronym for “pre-teen hardcore” to search the internet for child pornography, which Spear said he had been downloading for five to six years.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

  Comments