A Gainesville man was taken into custody Wednesday on charges of child pornography possession, court records show.
Richard James Ashbrook, 56, stored more than of 100 child porn images both on his phone and on the digital storage platform Google Drive, according to his arrest report. He was arrested and booked at the Alachua County Jail Wednesday.
Google tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children June 21 after multiple images were uploaded to Google Drive in late May.
The Gainesville Police Department soon learned of the incident, along with the name on the Google account, email and phone number. Officers found the number was purchased through T-Mobile by Ashbrook and received his address.
Officers spoke with Ashbrook Dec. 2, when he identified the phone and said he owned other phones and a laptop as well, according to the arrest report. When asked, he refused to provide his laptop’s password.
Ashbrook initially denied saving any child pornography, but later said he researched child exploitation online, according to the report.
When officers asked if he saved child pornography, Ashbrook said he was “trying to see how prominent the problem was” and said he might need a lawyer, according to the arrest report.
GPD later searched his phone and found over 100 images with some on Google Drive depicting pre-pubescent girls.Ashbrook was charged with 11 counts of possession of obscene material and one count of electronically transmitting child pornography. He was taken to Alachua County Jail, and his bond was set at $135,000.The date of Ashbrook’s first court appearance is unknown as of Thursday evening.
Contact Aidan Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @aidandisto.
Aidan Bush is a third-year journalism major and the Spring 2024 Engagement Managing Editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and go kayaking.