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March 5, 10

NEWS / Former Pediatrician Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Pornography

BIRMINGHAM—A former Guntersville pediatrician pleaded guilty today in federal court to possessing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley announced.

MICHAEL ROY SHARPE, 64, of Albertville, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler to the one-count indictment returned last year. The indictment charged SHARPE with possessing a cellular phone containing images of child pornography.

The facts presented in court to support his guilty plea showed that SHARPE confessed to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners on Feb. 25, 2009, that he had had sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl. SHARPE was a pediatrician at the time and the girl was his patient. He had been communicating with her outside of a doctor/patient relationship since she was 14.

During SHARPE’S meeting with the Board of Medical Examiners, he allowed board members to look at his phone, which revealed sexually explicit text messages from the child and pornographic images of her. SHARPE received the images between Feb. 16 and Feb. 25, 2009.

No sentencing date has been set. SHARPE remains in custody, where he has been since his arrest Oct. 6.

“Our office sees an alarming number of child exploitation cases wherein the perpetrator has the outward appearance of being an upstanding citizen and community leader,” Vance said. “We have prosecuted people from all walks of life for sex crimes against children and will continue to prosecute them, regardless of profession or standing in the community. Parents must, however, remain alert and aware of who is communicating with their children,” Vance said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell is prosecuting the government’s case.




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