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Registered sex offender accused of possessing child porn - HeraldCourier.com: News

Registered sex offender accused of possessing child porn

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Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 6:50 am

BRISTOL, Va. – A city man was arrested Wednesday after police found almost 20 child pornography magazines, called “Lollitots,” dating from the 1970s in his State Street apartment.

Hershel Cook III, 52, was charged with 21 counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of child pornography.

Bristol Virginia Police Detective Mike Arthur said a search warrant was issued for Cook’s apartment after two copies of the magazine were given to a confidential source Wednesday.

Cook lives alone in an apartment on State Street, where investigators found the magazines stacked inside a briefcase, along with several pictures torn out of other magazines.

A registered sex offender in Virginia, Cook pleaded guilty to forcible sodomy in Bristol Circuit Court in 1997, according to Virginia’s on-line court records. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with five years suspended, and was on supervised probation for five years after his release. He renewed his registration on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry just last week. According to the on-line database, Cook sometimes goes by the name “Scoogie.”

Arthur said Wednesday that the children pictured in the magazines were “obviously under the age of 18,” but he declined to guess a specific age range. According to a 1977 Time magazine article, “Lollitots” featured “preteen girls showing off their genitals in the gynecological style popularized by Penthouse and Playboy.”

The magazines were published in 1976 and 1977, before child pornography was explicitly illegal and child pornographers were charged under abuse or obscenity laws. In 1985, the Los Angeles Times reported that in the early 1970s, commercial child pornography was a $1 billion business, with some 400 magazine titles in distribution. A 1977 federal law made the commercial distribution of child porn illegal. After that, magazines like “Lollitots” died off.

Arthur said police also found lady’s clothing, underwear and high-heeled shoes in Cook’s apartment.

Cook is being held without bond at the Bristol Virginia Jail. He has a bond hearing scheduled for today, and arraignment set for March 4.

cgalofaro@bristolnews.com | (276) 645-2531

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