Man Pleads Guilty to Soliciting Sex from Minor and Downloading Violent Pornography


San Angelo, Texas - This afternoon, at the Tom Green County Courthouse, Judge Barbara Walther heard a case that somehow “fell through the cracks.” This case consisted of two charges: Online Solicitation of a Minor and Possession of Child Pornography, which occurred in 2014.

The Defendant, Hunter Mark Tumlinson, 21, of San Angelo, pleaded guilty to both charges; and, after careful deliberation, Walther accepted the Defense’s request for probation. However, for 10 years, Tumlinson will be under close community supervision that includes limited access to technology. Not to mention, Tumlinson can’t be around children.

The State, however, recommended prison time for Tumlinson’s second and third degree felony charges, especially after more details emerged in the case.

“Our concern is that he’ll do it again,” said Assistant District Attorney Jason Ferguson.

Despite the concerns, however, and to the relief of Tumlinson’s family, Walther did hand down probation being that this was Tumlinson’s first offense.

For the second degree felony, Tumlinson faced up to 20 years in prison with a fine not to exceed $10,000. For the third degree felony, he faced up to 10 years in prison with a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Uncovering Disturbing Details

To begin, Assistant D.A. Ferguson, on behalf of the State, called John Cox, an investigator with DPS Criminal Investigations and peace officer of 20 years, to the stand.

Cox explained how the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or what he referred to as the “Internet Police,” use high tech systems to monitor internet use, or specifically, people who look for underage pornography, particularly in other countries.

“They flag certain IP addresses in foreign countries,” Cox explained.

Cox said the Attorney General’s Office got the initial notice of the incident and forwarded the information to Tom Green County. He said the information consisted of certain identifiers that included email addresses and telephone numbers. The identifiers belonged to Tumlinson.

The online solicitation of the minor occurred on or about March 23, 2014 and originated from Tumlinson’s Facebook page, said Cox.

The investigator then explained how instant messaging occurred back and forth between Tumlinson and a 15-year-old boy, which provided probable cause for a search warrant. The content went back 7 – 8 months, and Cox discovered Tumlinson reached out to the juvenile in a sexually explicit way that included offers and propositions.

“Can you tell the court what you’re talking about?” asked Ferguson.

Cox said the juvenile and Tumlinson arranged to meet at the movie theater in San Angelo. Tumlinson asked the juvenile to shave “down there” because he “likes it smooth.”

There was also an arrangement to send nude pictures of children under 17. Tumlinson was 19 at the time.

Cox also did a search of Tumlinson’s home and seized a computer, three cell phones, an Acer computer, a thumb drive and a computer hard drive. Those items were sent to a crime analyst in Midland for a more thorough search. Cox said the investigation uncovered roughly 9,800 images and videos of child porn.

“They were under the age of 13 and 14,” and of “unclothed males,” Cox said.

Based on what he found, Cox took Tumlinson into custody. He said the young man was very open and honest about what he did.

Tumlinson admitted to visiting a Russian site for underage porn. He also admitted to "Facebooking and texting" to meet up for sex.

Cox said, while going through Tumlinson’s Facebook, he found cartoon characters involved in “very violent sexual acts.” They included dragons, dogs, cats, raccoons and foxes. Cox said Tumlinson voluntarily used the term “furry.”

Cox also said he had to conduct a search since he was not familiar with this. He learned the artist, who goes by the pseudonym Wolfblade, produces these cartoons depicting explicit acts of homosexuality and pedophilia.

When asked how he could tell they consisted of pedophilia, Cox explained the cartoon depicted full grown, mature animals interacting violently and sexually with small, immature animals of the same species.

Cox said he also found photographs of Tumlinson with a horse head mask pulled over his head and several lewd bestiality images and still pictures on his cell phone. Tumlinson also admitted to, on three different occasions, engaging in sexual acts with his dog.

Ferguson, at that point, pulled out a CD with items downloaded from Tumlinson’s drive to add into evidence. He showed some of those images to Judge Walther.

After Ferguson passed the witness, Brigman asked Cox if the images were peer to peer or “just downloaded” from the internet. Cox confirmed they were downloaded.

Defending the Defendant

Brigman called several witnesses up to the stand on behalf of Tumlinson, including his father. Mark Tumlinson, who said his son had “severe Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)” and “took meds all through school.”

He added that toward the end of Hunter’s senior year, his doctor told Hunter he could go off the meds “if he thought he could.”

However, Mark said he “didn’t recall that conversation.”

Hunter chose to go off his meds, and Mark said, as a result, his son became “impulsive,” and he spent a lot of time “doing one thing.”

However, since he got arrested, Hunter’s “been perfect,” he said. Although his son lost his job initially because of these charges, he has still been able to find some work, and he helps around the house.

Mark also described how Hunter, as a kid, tried to participate in sports, “but he just wasn’t able to fit in with the kids.”

After he graduated in 2013, Hunter did enroll and attend Howard College, and he had never been arrested or in trouble with the law. He also had no known issues with drugs or alcohol.

Mark and the other witnesses described Hunter as being close to his family and a good person. He also has a close relationship with his brother, who happens to be a police officer.

Mark confirmed, if given probation, Hunter could continue to live with him and Hunter’s mother. Their home is not near a school zone.

When the Defense called Hunter to the stand, he confirmed that he was pleading guilty of both online solicitation and possessing child pornography because he “did it.”

He said he never met the person he was communicating with, and claimed he had only been looking at child porn “a couple of months.”

“I knew it was illegal,” he said; however, he didn’t realize how much so.

When asked why he deserved probation, Hunter said, “I think it probably will make me a better and more productive citizen.”

He also said he went to see a psychiatrist for “a couple of months,” but he’s willing to do more.

Pointing Out the Issues

After Brigman passed the witness, Ferguson reiterated to Tumlinson his actions.

“You never met the person, but you talked about meeting up and having sex in the bathroom,” said Ferguson. He then pointed out how Tumlinson asked the juvenile to shave because he “liked it smooth.”

“Did you go out looking for it online?” asked Ferguson.

“Yes, sir,” Tumlinson responded.

Ferguson then questioned, “So you didn’t know it was serious?”

“No, sir,” he responded. However, after Ferguson asked the question again and pointed out that there are several cases on television that indicate what Tumlinson did was very serious, the Defendant said he did know it was bad, but he didn’t know it was a felony.

Tumlinson also told Ferguson he ended the relationship with the juvenile after he was arrested, and he went on his own to see a psychologist.

When Ferguson asked Tumlinson if he was no longer into children or animals, the Defendant answered, “No, sir.”

“So you’re all better?” Ferguson asked. “Is your psychiatrist here?”

“No, sir,” Tumlinson said. The Defense told the court Tumlinson’s psychiatrist moved away from San Angelo.

Closing the Arguments

In his closing statement, Ferguson told the court that these tendencies exhibited by Tumlinson don’t go away over night. He said he recognizes that Tumlinson was 19 and the juvenile 15, going on 16.

“But when we look at what we got, there are images that can lead to bestiality, and then checking out child porn can lead to pedophilia,” noted Ferguson.

He also confirmed that the State originally was for Deferred Adjudication, but it would be best to let Tumlinson go to prison and see what’s waiting for him if he gets into trouble.

Ferguson indicated that there’s really no good options because prison does not cure sex offenders. In this case, however, there is the issue of bestiality and child porn, which can lead to Tumlinson wanting to take the fantasy to the real world.

Brigman, however, said Tumlinson has never been in trouble, and has not had any issues since these incidents took place.

“He’s willing to do sex offender therapy,” added Brigman.

He also said many first-time offenders who have actual victims with injury never get a taste of prison.

“He understands the consequences, and prison isn’t going to help him,” Brigman stated.

He said probation will help serve two purposes for Tumlinson: one, it will rehabilitate him, and two, it will help him become a productive citizen where he can work and support himself.

“There are a lot of programs that will be beneficial to him,” said Brigman.

Finalizing the Sentence

After explaining the terms of Tumlinson’s probation, Judge Walther told the defendant, “If you violate my terms, you will go to prison. You will go through standard sex offender treatment and proceedings. This is pretty much a zero tolerance deal so…”

She added that she agreed with Ferguson.

"There is no treatment for sex offenders in the penitentiary," Walther said.

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