Crime

'American Idol' Star Gets 70 Years For Child Pornography (Photo)

| by Michael Howard

A former "American Idol" contestant was sentenced to 70 years in prison on April 12 after being found guilty on child pornography charges.

Brandon Cox, 26, had been held in Elmore County Jail in Alabama since January, when he was convicted on seven counts of possession of child pornography.

During Cox's trial, the State Bureau of Investigation revealed 275 files that were discovered on his computer, according to AL.com. One of the images depicted an infant engaged in a sexual act.

Assistant District Attorney Kristy Peoples cited the "horrific nature" of the images and videos in her suggestion that Cox receive 10 years per count.

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"We are talking about toddlers, sexual penetration, oral sex and the horrific nature of these photos and the quantity of the photos," Peoples said. "I think that is why the judge did impose the sentence we asked for."

"There were hundreds of images that depicted what can only be described as outrageous acts done to children, mostly male children," she added.

District Attorney Randall Houston expressed a similar view, describing Cox as "sick."

"It’s very rare for us to deal with child porn cases where the images depict such young victims," he said, according to the Daily Mail. "Usually it may be young girls, 14 to 15, which is bad, don’t get me wrong. But he had photos and videos of toddlers, 4- or 5-year-olds. There were even photos of an infant engaged in sexual acts."

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Cox maintained throughout the trial and during sentencing that he was innocent. He told the court he did not know the images were on his computer because he only used it to download music. He also denied knowing who any of the children were.

"His plea today was that he didn't have records to prove certain things like access dates and when he downloaded certain files -- but that wasn't required by the state," Peoples said. "What was required was that he possessed, and we had overwhelming evidence that he possessed child pornography images and videos."

The Daily Mail reports that Cox was already under investigation when he made it to the Hollywood round of "American Idol" in 2012. It was not clear whether the show's producers were aware of the investigation at the time.

Cox has a 4-year-old son, something Peoples said factored into the court's decision.

"It was a huge concern," she said after sentencing. "Most of the children in these images and videos were male toddlers and younger male children."

Cox's attorney, Kenny James, indicated that his client intends to appeal the verdict. However, he requested that the appeal be handled by another attorney.

Cox will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sources: AL.com, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Daily Mail

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