Former Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputy Travis Tuenge was indicted by a federal grand jury in Statesboro Wednesday on charges he was found in possession of child pornography.
Tuenge was arrested in July after accusations of child molestation. He was not charged with child molestation, but after being placed on leave, he resigned from the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office and was arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and US Marshals Service, charged with sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.
Last week, a judge granted Tuenge release on a $15,000 bond, with stipulations that he be confined with an ankle monitor to his Five Chop Road, Statesboro home; have no electronic devices or Internet in his home; no firearms, alcohol, drugs, or contact with the victim, victim’s family and children under 16, according to court documents.
Before that, Tuenge, 43, had been incarcerated without bond in the Burke County Detention Center as he awaited court hearings.
After Wednesday’s federal indictment, Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said the charge “carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.”
He spoke sternly regarding crimes against children.
“Exploitation of children through child pornography is a despicable crime that will not be tolerated in the Southern District of Georgia,” he said. “In cooperation with our law enforcement partners, we will find and prosecute these cases no matter the status of those engaging in this exploitation.”
The indictment is not a determination of guilt, but means Tuenge will face further federal court hearings to determine whether he is guilty as charged.
“Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,” according to a release issued Wednesday by Barry L. Paschal, public affairs officer with the United States Attorney – Southern District of Georgia’s office.
The case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation 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, he said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.