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Search in July led to Pirkle's arrest

A variety of evidence was seized from a former local band director's home when state law enforcement agents executed a search warrant there last summer, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

An ongoing criminal investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation led to the arrest of 31-year-old Philip Bradley Pirkle on child pornography charges last week. Mr. Pirkle since has been released from the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center on $50,000 bond.

Among the items seized from his Johns Road residence in Thomson on July 20 was a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a desktop tower, a media jump drive and nine DVDs and CDs, according to records viewed in the McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk's Office.

Information contained in those records came from an affidavit and application for a search warrant that was provided to Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway, Jr. from Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Charles Kicklighter. The case agent has received specialized training in the computer-crime field. He has attended classes taught through the National White Collar Crime Center, the GBI, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the FBI and the University of Tennessee.

Agent Kicklighter didn't began working on this case until after the mother of a then 14-year-old teenage girl filed a complaint with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department on July 13, 2009.

The woman told local authorities that her daughter had been communicating on the Internet Web site MySpace with a teacher that she identified as Mr. Pirkle, records show.

"The communications were of a sexual nature and it was discussed they wanted to meet each other for sex," according to the affidavit and application for search warrant.

The mother of the teenager saved the MySpace e-mails from her daughter's profile and later shared them with authorities at the sheriff's department.

The case was turned over to the GBI Region 7 Office in Thomson.

Two days after the woman reported the incident to local authorities, Agent Kicklighter reviewed the e-mails. Communication between the teenager and Mr. Pirkle reportedly began June 28, 2009 and continued through July 8.

The first e-mail reportedly was initiated from the girl to Mr. Pirkle. It indicated that she had seen him earlier that day while he was jogging. In response, Mr. Pirkle reportedly types that he does the world a favor "running half-naked" and providing "eye candy for the ladies," records reveal.

At one point in the exchange of e-mails between the girl and Mr. Pirkle, she devised a plan to meet -- the excuse being so the girl could receive "flute" lessons.

E-mails dated July 6, 7 and 8, indicated, records show, that Mr. Pirkle believed his home was a good place for them to "hook-up" and mentioned Thursday, July 9, 2009, as a good day to get together.

Agent Kicklighter interviewed the girl on July 16. The teenager denied having sex with Mr. Pirkle or being intimate in any way with each other. She said the two were just friends and that she had known him for approximately four years. She first met him when he taught her band in the sixth grade at Thomson Middle School.

Web posted on Thursday, March 04, 2010

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