Former Benton firefighter appeared in federal court on child pornography charges
A former lieutenant of the Benton Fire Department appeared in federal court on Tuesday with charges of receipt and possession of child pornography.
Timothy Ryan Bodkin, 39, pleaded "not guilty" before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray and was not detained, according to Christopher R. Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Thyer said Bodkin was indicted on Feb. 6, 2012 after an investigation into the file sharing of child pornography. On May 24, 2012, a special agent with the Arkansas State Police isolated an IP address used by Bodkin which had downloaded pornographic images. Bodkin was arrested on June 19, 2012 after the Saline County Sheriff's Office received information from the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that a person in Benton was downloading child pornography. The task force is comprised of investigators with the Saline County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas State Police, Pine Bluff Police and Homeland Security.
During the investigation Saline County Sheriff Lt. Mike Frost said search warrants were obtained for the seizure of a laptop computer allegedly owned by Bodkin. He said the laptop was found in a locker at the Benton Fire Department and the ICAC discovered more than 1,000 images of child pornography.
Bodkin reportedly was in Eureka Springs at that time, but was contacted by members of the ICAC Task Force in Northwest Arkansas and was taken into custody at a bus station in North Little Rock. Frost told The Saline Courier there is no indication that any of the images involve local children.
Bodkin was released from the Saline County Jail on Aug. 31, 2012 after a family member reportedly paid the $200,000 sheriff's bond.
During an Oct. 4, 2012 appearance in Benton District Court, Saline County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Bush pointed to interviews between Bodkin and detectives.
"Would you be surprised that (Timothy Bodkin) has confessed that he downloaded and searched for child pornography?" Bush asked retired Benton firefighter Richard Childress during the court hearing.
Bush then asked whether Childress would be surprised to learn that many of the child pornography images allegedly found on Timothy Bodkin's computer "showed small children in bondage."
Childress said all of the events had taken him by surprise.
"I also have a (Saline County Sheriff's Office) detective here that can testify," Bush said to Judge Robinson. "She is prepared to tell you that (Timothy Bodkin) did in fact confess to downloading and searching for child pornography on his computer."
Thyer said on Tuesday that the case against Bodkin is part of the Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploration and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.