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Former Long Beach police officer indicted on federal child pornography charges

Long Beach Police Department headquarters.
(Google)

A former Long Beach police officer has been indicted on four federal counts of distributing and possessing child pornography, prosecutors said Thursday.

Anthony Mark Brown, 57, was indicted on three counts of distributing images of underage girls who were either naked or engaging in sex acts and one count of possessing child porn, according to the indictment.

Brown, a 27-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department, possessed one sexually explicit image of a girl under the age of 12, prosecutors said.

Using the social media platform MeWe, whose lax content moderation has made it increasingly popular among conspiracy theorists, Brown shared the images under the alias “Kristen Funone” between October 2019 and May 2020, according to the indictment. MeWe said in an email late Thursday that Brown had been removed from the platform and that it had reported him to authorities.

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Brown was released on bond after his arraignment Wednesday, and a trial has been set for Nov. 23.

Anthony Mark Brown was taken into custody while on duty last month. He had been assigned to Long Beach airport security.

If convicted as charged, Brown faces a maximum of 80 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

“A strong ethical foundation is one of the core values of our department, and we hold all our employees to high standards,” Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said in a statement. “This former employee in no way exemplifies what it means to be a Long Beach police officer and we support the federal charges brought against him by the U.S. attorney’s office.”

Brown’s defense attorney, Howard Price, questioned the decision to bring federal charges, given the relatively small number of images Brown was accused of sharing or possessing. Price said he believed Brown was being targeted because of his status as a former police officer and said his client is “otherwise a sterling citizen.”

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Brown with four counts of possessing or distributing child pornography, but the office agreed to drop those charges and defer to the federal prosecution, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Federal sentencing guidelines are much harsher than those available under California law.

Long Beach police began investigating Brown, who was last assigned to a Long Beach airport security detail, in May 2020 after receiving an anonymous tip about a possible crime against a child. He was suspended without pay.

Brown retired one month after the district attorney’s office brought charges against him and will receive a pension of roughly $93,000 a year, according to a report by the Long Beach Post. Brown’s pension is guaranteed under state law, though with rare exceptions, including if he is convicted of a felony connected to his job, according to the report.

Prosecutors have not said whether the charges against Brown have any link to his time as a law enforcement officer.


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