Former Harris County deputy sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former Harris County Sheriff's Officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, on Friday, announced district attorney Kim Ogg.

Donald Thomas Dehnert, 50, was sentenced by district judge Kelli Johnson after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Dehert pleaded guilty in exchange for letting the judge determine the punishment and was given the maximum.

"When a peace officer violates their position of trust, they are going from protector to predator," Ogg said. "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 back in 2018 as a part of a joint sting operation that was initiated 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.

Dehnert came under suspicion and a warrant was issued to search his home based on an online undercover investigation where he solicited sex with an undercover officer's 5-year-old and 11-year-old daughters.

District Attorney Timothy Goodwin, who prosecuted the case said that the judge made the correct call in sentencing Dehnert the maximum.

"He was trusted to protect the vulnerable, but he chose to prey on them instead," Goodwin said.

Prosecutors say Dehnert admitted to having child pornography on a flash drive that was found while investigators searched Dehnert's 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 the Harris County Sheriff's Office in 1992 and was relieved of duty, according to the sheriff's office.

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