Wednesday, November 25, 2015         

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Hawaii island man pleads not guilty in child porn case

By Audrey McAvoy / Associated Press


A Hawaii island bed-and-breakfast operator pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court to six counts of producing child pornography.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang said John Ridgely Tucker's trial will begin Feb. 12.

Tucker is being held at the federal detention center without bail.

An indictment filed earlier this week alleged the 56-year-old from Pahoa enticed two children to produce six images of child pornography in 2008. Prosecutors say each count carries a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and up to 30 years in prison.

Tucker's attorney, Brian De Lima, told reporters after the hearing that the government has yet to pre­sent its evidence to the defense. He said the defense will respond appropriately after prosecutors provide them with their evidence.

Tucker was arrested and charged earlier this month after the FBI distributed a photo of an unknown suspect believed to be on Hawaii island and asked the public for help in finding him. Several people called the FBI within hours of the agency's news release, identifying Tucker as the man in the photo.

The FBI connected the man in the photo to Hawaii island because they could see a 2008-09 Hawaii island telephone book issued by Hawaiian Telcom in the background of one of the images.

An affidavit submitted with the criminal complaint against Tucker said Hawaii state authorities interviewed two children who identified themselves and Tucker in the pornographic images. The children say the acts depicted occurred at Tucker's home.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children initiated the investigation after receiving several pornographic images featuring the suspect and two minors, the affidavit said.

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