Alleged child sex crimes result in Hawkins County indictments

Jeff Bobo • Apr 24, 2013 at 8:19 AM

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County grand jury handed down indictments Monday against two men accused in separate, unrelated sexually related crimes against children.

Shannon Dale “Shane” Herron, 31, 203 Big Hill Road, Mooresburg, was indicted on one count of felony solicitation of a minor by means of electronic communication.

Herron was arrested in November after Hawkins County deputies allegedly found an active “one-pot” meth lab in his pickup.

Herron had been wanted, however, on a separate charge related to sexual text messages he allegedly sent to a 14-year-old girl.

At the time of his arrest, Herron and a female companion were in Mooresburg in a pickup in which the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office allegedly observed syringes and other drug paraphernalia lying in plain view. Upon further search, deputies allegedly found a backpack in the bed of the pickup that contained a one-pot meth lab that was in the midst of a cook, as well as various meth lab components.

Drug charges against Herron have not yet been presented to the grand jury.

As for the solicitation of a minor charge, on Nov. 23, 2011, the mother of the alleged victim told the HCSO that her 14-year-old daughter had received text messages on her cell phone of a sexual nature from Herron, who also allegedly sent the girl photos of himself.

HCSO Detective Chris Price said Herron admitted that the phone number the illicit text messages had been sent from were was his.

Herron allegedly admitted that he knowingly engaged in sexual conversations with the juvenile, who he knew was underage. He also allegedly stated that in the text messaged he described sexual acts he would like to perform on her.

Herron will be arraigned in Hawkins County criminal court Friday.

In an unrelated case, Gary Mark Wright, 54, 103 Anderson St., No. 3, Morristown, was indicted Monday by the Hawkins County grand jury on a single count of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony. The HCSO alleges that Wright knowingly possessed a computer hard drive containing 124 images that included a minor engaged in sexual activity.

Wright came to the attention of authorities in September of last year after allegedly trading a computer and hard drives that contained the child pornography.

According to witnesses, Wright gave a man a computer and three hard drives in exchange for helping him move from Hawkins County to Morristown. Wright had reportedly told the man the computer and hard drives didn’t work, but on the next weekend a female helped the man get the computer working.

On Sept. 22, 2012, the man and woman allegedly discovered some “questionable pornographic images” on Wright’s old computer.

The couple called the sheriff’s office and surrendered the computer and three hard drives.

HCSO Detective John Pruitt stated in his report he then confirmed that the images were that of juvenile females, and that the primary user of the computer had been Wright.

On Sept. 26, the computer was transferred to the nearest ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) agent, Detective Michael O’Keefe with the Morristown Police Department.

O’Keefe completed a forensic analysis of the computer on Oct. 31 that concluded that there were child pornography images on all three hard drives — 124 images in all.

Wright is scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Criminal Court on Friday.

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