Former Northwest Trustee given probation for lewd photos

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, July 21, 2018
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A former Northwest School Board member arrested in October for possession of child pornography has been given five years probation.

Mel Fuller

According to Denton County court records, Mel Fuller of Hurst, formerly of Trophy Club, pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of lewd visual material depicting children – a state jail felony – in 16th Judicial District Court.

The court accepted his guilty plea and sentenced him to five years probation. That includes 120 hours of community service, according to court records.

Fuller had served on the Northwest School Board from 2008 until the time of his arrest Oct. 31, 2017, for the third degree felony offense of possession of child pornography.

Fuller first came under scrutiny due to his connection to an internet user under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), as outlined in an affidavit for probable cause, which the Messenger obtained from the Trophy Club Police Department through an open records request.

On Dec. 9, 2016, OPP contacted the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit (CEIU) of the Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center regarding a user – PASTOR4YNG1 – who posted on a photo sharing website images and comments indicating he had sexually abused the children depicted in the images.

The PASTOR user listed a profile for Kik, a text messaging app, and Wickr, an encrypted messaging application, through which he had sent child sexual abuse material, according to the affidavit. Investigators reviewed the data and images associated with people communicating with this user and discovered one of them was Fuller.

The affidavit states Fuller communicated with the PASTOR user five times in December of 2016. On Dec. 20, he received 12 files – 11 images and one video – and at least two images and the video appear to be child sexual abuse material, according to the affidavit.

Kik records indicate Fuller set up the account in 2012.

The case was referred to the HSI Dallas Cyber Child Exploitation Group (CCEG), and a state search warrant was executed by the Trophy Club and Flower Mound police departments Aug. 31, 2017, at Fuller’s residence.

The affidavit states Fuller admitted to using the Kik account to receive child pornography via the internet from the PASTOR user.

The affidavit also says a Homeland Security Agent reached out to Fuller through his Kik account and asked if Fuller had any images or videos he wanted to share.

“Fuller then began sending the agent images of a teenage girl in a bikini,” and he indicated the two engage in regular sexual contact, according to the affidavit.

Fuller was the second Northwest School Board member in five years to face charges related to sexual crimes involving children. Former Northwest board member Kerry Jones was indicted in April of 2013 on four counts of improper relationship between an educator and a student. Those charges – second degree felonies – stemmed from alleged offenses that occurred between April 2010 and March 2011, when Jones was a high school counselor with Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. Jones was elected to the Northwest School Board in May of 2011, and he resigned following his indictment.

According to court records, Jones’ trial is still pending in Denton County.

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