A 28-year-old Peoria man, Brian Fortner, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Dangerous Crimes Against Children after admitting he possessed child pornography.
A man found a duffel bag outside of his home in Peoria, AZ. When he opened it, he discovered a wallet, cassette tapes, and images depicting children in sexually exploitive actions. While waiting for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to arrive, the homeowner noticed a vehicle driving back and forth on the street. On a hunch, he wrote down the license plate number and provided it, along with the duffel bag, to the responding officers. An MCSO detective was assigned to the investigation, reviewed the contents of the duffel bag, and noticed the wallet contained a driver’s license for Brian Fortner. The detective then ran the license plate provided by the homeowner and learned the vehicle was registered to Fortner.
Detectives searched the duffel bag further and found methamphetamine, approximately 100 printed child pornography images and 15 8mm videos containing hours of footage of young girls in cheer competitions, gymnastics, and fashion shows from social networking sites such as YouTube. Images obtained from the pictures and videos were taken to a pediatrician, who conducted a “Sexual Maturity Rating” on the images, and determined that the girls were less than 13-years-old.
On August 15, 2012, a search warrant was obtained and executed for the residence of Brian Fortner, who was not home at the beginning of the search, but drove up as it was taking place. Fortner was read his Miranda Rights, and after initially denying ownership of the duffel bag, finally confessed the items were his. Fortner said that 12- and 13-year-old girls were what he was interested in but had seen younger girls than that.
In addition to the 14-year prison term, Fortner has to register as a sex offender upon the completion of his sentence.