The former public information officer for the Columbus Police Department was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail and pay a fine after pleading guilty to four child pornography charges. The judge initially sentenced Dean Worthington to nine years in prison on the charges, suspending that sentence on the condition that he serve Franklin County jail or serve 90 days and pay a $5,000 fine. If he does not pay the fine, he will serve 180 days in jail.
Worthington, 51, will also have to register as a Tier II sex offender for the next 25 years and serve a strict probationary period after getting out of jail. Some conditions ordered by Judge Mark Serrot include drug and alcohol screenings, no access to the internet, no unsupervised contact with unrelated minors, and completion of a program for sex offenders. He will also have to go through alcohol counseling and remain sober.
Sergeant Dean Worthington was arrested and charged with three counts of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, and one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material after investigators received a tip from the social media site Tumblr. Worthington downloaded and uploaded images from the site.
Worthington, who served on the force for 20 years before he was named as the PIO for Columbus Police in 2017, apologized in court saying there's no excuse for what he did. Judge Serrot warned Worthington that if he violates the probation he will send him to prison.
Cathy Harper Lee, the Executive Director of the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, says she's disappointed by the light sentence. On the topic of child pornography, Harper Lee said:
Child pornography is a horrific crime that involves the production, distribution, and consumption of the images. The children are sexually abused in order to produce the images. The images are distributed and redistributed to countless others - indefinitely, causing revictimization and long-term emotional trauma. This harm is magnified every time that material is circulated or downloaded.
It's time to take crimes against women and children seriously, especially child sexual abuse victims.
To learn more about the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, visit their website: www.ocvjc.org/