A former Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy has pled guilty in U.S. District Court to possession of child pornography, according to a release from the US Department of Justice.
Travis Tuenge, 44, of Statesboro, entered the plea before U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall to one count of Possession of Child Pornography, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a substantial fine, followed by a period of supervised release and registration as a sex offender.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Exploitation of children through child pornography is a despicable crime that we will not tolerate in the Southern District of Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Travis Tuenge violated innocent children through his deviant behavior, but also violated the trust of his community and his oath of office as a law enforcement officer.”
According to court documents and testimony, Tuenge – who served as a Superior Court security officer – came under investigation after the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office received a report of suspicious text messages from Tuenge regarding alleged victimization of children. With assistance from the GBI, investigators discovered images of child pornography on Tuenge’s cell phone.
“It is of utmost importance that public officials, especially sworn law enforcement officers, committing crimes be held accountable for their actions,” said Vic Reynolds, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). “The GBI remains committed to working with our local and federal partners to ensure that these type cases are aggressively investigated and prosecuted in order to maintain the faith and trust of the public.”
The case was investigated by the GBI and the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, and is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua S. Bearden and Marcela C. Mateo.