Former Fire Captain Kept Child Porn

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Eight years after horrifying post-9/11 duties in New York, a former Chula Vista Fire Captain has pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography.

    Robert Eugene Bryant, Jr. 37, was terminated from the department over the summer, charged in late July, and pleaded guilty October 1st.

    His plea was announced yesterday by the U.S. Attorney's office in a release that outlined sentences in child pornography cases involving four other defendants.

    Bryant is single, with no kids.

    He was the youngest fire captain in Chula Vista's history, and decorated with a medal of valor.

    In August of last year, San Diego's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was notified of Bryant's activities by a retired Los Angeles police detective who monitors online child pornography.

    Prosecutors say Bryant pleaded guilty to possessing images of minors involved in sex acts and, to having online sex chats involving individuals purported to be as young as 13.

    Among the computer equipment investigators seized at his Chula Vista home was a laptop issued by the Fire Department.

    Bryant's attorney says his client spent a month, quote, "cutting bodies" out of the 9/11 World Trade Center rubble, and developed post-traumatic stress that led to binge drinking and online pornography.

    Fire officials are reluctant to talk about how Bryant's career ended.

    "There is no excuse for what was done. But his role in the Fire Department and his experience and years he spent here in the Chula Vista Fire Department were very positive," said Chula Vista Fire Chief Dave Hanneman.

    Bryant is due for sentencing in December. Prosecutors say he faces up to five years in federal prison. Guidelines for the term range from 4 years, three months to 5 years and prosecutors say they'll recommend the upper range.

    Bryant also will have to register as a sex offender -- precluding any further public safety work.