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Registered sex offender in Portsmouth arrested, charged with 16 counts of distributing child pornography

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Posted at 12:49 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 05:43:59-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Detectives have arrested 42-year-old Brad J. Roberts on numerous charges relating to the exploitation of a minor.

Robert is a registered sex offender, according to detectives.

Investigators with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office utilized certain databases to search for individuals seeking to engage in the distribution of pornographic images of children.

During this investigation, detectives were led to a home on Halifax Avenue in Portsmouth. Sheriff’s office personnel, with the assistance of the Portsmouth Police Department, executed a search warrant at the home early Tuesday morning.

Roberts roommate, Virgle Hutchinson, was home at the time with his fiancé. He says he was confused and caught off guard when law enforcement rushed through the front door around 6 a.m. with search warrants in hand.

Hutchinson says he met Roberts through a mutual friend and had given him a place to stay. According to Hutchinson, Roberts was a quiet guy who stayed in his room a lot and kept quiet.

When Hutchinson learned police were searching their home for child pornography, he couldn't contain his emotions.

"I don't know what could posses a grown human being to do something like that to a child. I can't tolerate that. I can't, and anybody in his right mind shouldn't be able to tolerate that."

Investigators in Isle of Wight County have been following Roberts' online activity since November. Court documents say investigators found a stockpile of child pornography pictures and videos. The youngest child mentioned was only 4 years old.

Law enforcement traced the downloads to Roberts' laptop.

"99% of the time when he was around us, he was on his laptop. I thought he was doing schoolwork," Hutchinson says.

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Court documents go on to say that after his arrest, Roberts admitted to downloading the child pornography on his computer. Investigators say he was trading them with others online. Roberts also has other local child pornography charges from 2016.

"Whether you're on the sex offender registry or this is your first time doing this, you are trying to take advantage of a child," Lt. Tommy Potter with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office says. "There are some very harsh consequences for those individuals who engage in this type of activity."

Hutchinson says as a father and grandfather himself, he regrets ever opening his home. He has filed an eviction notice.

Roberts was taken into custody and served warrants on one count Distribution of Child Pornography and 15 counts of Distribution of Child Pornography, second offense. He was remanded to Western Tidewater Regional Jail on a no bond status.