Search warrants reveal more about child porn investigation into former CPD officer

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Former Columbus Division of Police Sgt. Dean Worthington was sentenced Thursday in a child pornography case.

Worthington was given a 9 year sentence in the case but that was suspended to 90 days in county jail and a $5,000 fine. He will also have to register as a sex offender for 25 years, and have no access to the internet. 

In November, Worthington pleaded guilty to four counts of sex-related charges including illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and three counts of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor.

The prosecutor argued for prison time while the defense pushed for probation. Worthington’s AA sponsor and his ex-wife spoke on his behalf. Both expressed confidence he would not commit these crimes again.

According to Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, Worthington, 51, was downloading child pornography to his personal phone.

“Between January and July of 2018, it is alleged that Worthington uploaded an image to Tumblr and downloaded multiple videos and images depicting young children engaging in sexual activity with adults,” O’Brien said in a press release. 

O’Brien said Tumblr provided a tip to law enforcement after Worthington allegedly uploaded an image of child pornography. 

Worthington had been on the force for 20 years before being promoted to PIO for the division in 2017.

Victim’s advocates say Worthington’s sentence is hardly enough.

“When offenders are only sentenced to 90 days in prison it sends a horrible message to crime victims it sends a disturbing message to offenders, it undermines the serious nature of the crime and it allows that industry to flourish,” said  Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center executive director Cathy Harper Lee .

Lee also says Worthington’s sentence also tells victims they don’t matter. 

“It involves the sexual abuse of children. Offenders who download and exchange images of children they promote and escalate child sexual abuse,” she said. 

Search Warrants, sealed until now, indicate that in May of 2018 The National Center for Missing and exploited children tipped off the Franklin County Internet Crimes against Children task force to someone uploading child porn to social media site Tumblr. 

Worthington was identified through his Tumblr screen name and IP address. 

After executing a search warrant on Worthington’s home 2-months later and questioning him at his gym that same day, investigators confiscated 6 cell phones, 3 laptops and multiple external hard drives. 

7-months later a remorseful Worthington appeared for sentencing where a Judge also required him to register as a tier 2 Sex offender for 25-years. 

“Registering as a sex offender falls within the guidelines of our laws and yes he should be held to that standard and he should have to register as a sex offender for 25-years. Does that mitigate the fact that he’s only serving 90-days in jail? Not it doesn’t. That’s still a very lenient sentence,” said Lee. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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