MD Anderson pediatric cancer doctor accused of possessing child pornography

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A pediatric doctor at MD Anderson is facing federal charges, accused of possession of child pornography (KTRK)

A pediatric cancer doctor at MD Anderson is facing federal charges, accused of possession of child pornography.

According to charging documents obtained by ABC-13, the FBI executed a search warrant at the Pearland home of Dr. Dennis Hughes. The documents also state that Hughes confessed to downloading and viewing child pornography from the Internet.

One thumb drive alone allegedly contained more than 8,000 files, most of which investigators say appeared to be child porn.

Tap or click here to read the court documents.

MD Anderson held a press conference Tuesday night, at which they hospital officials say they had contacted close to 200 of Hughes' patients from the past two years. They hope to contact all patients from his 11 years at the hospital.

"It's a devastating piece of news to share with our patients and their families," an MD Anderson doctor said. "We know how stressful having cancer is, particularly in children."

Hospital officials also say they've performed IT security tests and believe there were no breaches at the hospital. They believe none of his patients were victims.

Hughes is on paid leave right now and his hospital credentials have been suspended.

"This is quite a shock to me," one MD Anderson doctor said.

He's also in jail and due to face a judge Wednesday morning.

Late Tuesday, Hughes' attorney issued the following statement:

    "Dr. Hughes is presumed innocent. He will plead not guilty. He is charged federally with one count of receiving and possessing child pornography, NOT with making or distributing it. There is no allegation he had any improper contact with his patients or any other minors. He never has had any such improper contact. He is a loving husband, wonderful father, and outstanding physician-scientist. We look forward to his day in court.

    The family is under severe emotional strain. They do not wish to speak. Please refer any communication to me."


MD Anderson sent a letter to parents of patients. It reads in part

    Our patients' privacy and safety are first and foremost, which means we are committed to transparency and sharing information. As part of this commitment, we have some concerning news to share with you. Dr. Dennis Hughes, an associate professor of Pediatrics, has been placed on administrative leave for allegations related to the possession of child pornography.

    We know this is difficult news to hear and we apologize for any distress caused by this communication. Because this is a very recent development, details are limited at this time. However, based upon the information we have received so far, we have no reason to believe the charges involve any of our patients or other MD Anderson staff.

    MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital faculty and staff are actively cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation. We also are conducting our own internal reviews.

    Please know that we, along with MD Anderson leadership, are dedicated to ensuring the utmost security and care of our patients and their families. Because we understand this may be stressful for you and your child, our staff, including social workers and psychologists, are available to provide assistance. We invite you to call our Patient Advocacy office at 713-792-7776 with any questions or concerns you may have.

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