Brandon Cox, 26, was a former American Idol star, but was caught with child pornography on his computer back in January. He has been held in Alabama State prison since then. Today, the judge decided to give him 70 years in jail as punishment.
The State Bureau of Investigation revealed 275 files that were discovered on his computer during the court case. One of the videos went so far as to show an infant engaged in a sexual act.
The judge decided to go hard on him at the recommendation of the District Attorney Kristy Peoples. Peoples said, “We are talking about toddlers, sexual penetration, oral sex and the horrific nature of these photos and the quantity of the photos,” Peoples said. “I think that is why the judge did impose the sentence we asked for.”
“There were hundreds of images that depicted what can only be described as outrageous acts done to children, mostly male children,” she added.
District Attorney Randall Houston expressed a similar view, describing Cox as “sick.”
“It’s very rare for us to deal with child porn cases where the images depict such young victims,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “Usually it may be young girls, 14 to 15, which is bad, don’t get me wrong. But he had photos and videos of toddlers, 4- or 5-year-olds. There were even photos of an infant engaged in sexual acts.”
Cox maintained throughout the trial and during sentencing that he was innocent. He told the court he did not know the images were on his computer because he only used it to download music. He also denied knowing who any of the children were.
“His plea today was that he didn’t have records to prove certain things like access dates and when he downloaded certain files — but that wasn’t required by the state,” Peoples said. “What was required was that he possessed, and we had overwhelming evidence that he possessed child pornography images and videos.”
The Daily Mail reports that Cox was already under investigation when he made it to the Hollywood round of “American Idol” in 2012. It was not clear whether the show’s producers were aware of the investigation at the time.
Cox has a 4-year-old son, something Peoples said factored into the court’s decision.
“It was a huge concern,” she said after sentencing. “Most of the children in these images and videos were male toddlers and younger male children.”
Cox’s attorney, Kenny James, indicated that his client intends to appeal the verdict. However, he requested that the appeal be handled by another attorney.
Cox will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.