Marine Col. previously investigated for child porn before arrest - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Marine Col. previously investigated for child porn before arrest

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A high-ranking officer from Marine Logistics Command at the Albany base was investigated for child pornography years before he was charged with 25 counts in Dougherty County.

Col. Kyle Nickel, 48, was granted bond by a judge Tuesday, after he had been denied 10 days earlier.

He was charged with 25 counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Investigators said he had at least 25 images or videos of child pornography.

At the bond hearing, Col. Nickel was not present as his attorney requested bond.

His attorney said he had already requested retirement from the Marine Corps, because of the charges.

Prosecutors vigorously opposed bond, revealing that in 2002 while on deployment in Iraq, the Marine Corps investigated Colonel Nickel in a case of sharing child pornography.

"During one tour in Iraq he was investigated for a peer-to-peer sharing incident of child pornography," said Dougherty Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanies.

However, no charges were filed, and Col. Nickel continued his service.

"They did not bring Mr. Nickel back. They allowed him to complete his deployment," Nickel's Attorney Phil Cannon said. "When he returned he was interviewed. At the conclusion of the interview all of his computers were handed back. The investigation was closed, and no charges filed."

Investigators said it was the Colonel's social media account on Twitter that was tagged in May 2015 because of suspected child porn.

They later found thousands of downloaded pornographic videos and images on his personal computer, and said that he sought more child porn.

"What we discovered, [were] over 1,500 searches at least, minimum, for things like pre-teen hardcore porn," said Lanier.

Judge Willie Lockette granted Col. Nickel $50,000 bond, but denied him any home computers or contact with any children, even his own, without an adult supervisor.

His attorney said Col. Nickel was having a very difficult time in jail.

"He has struggled mentally with that enclosure," Cannon said. "Not to mention he has struggled with the loss of contact with his family."

Federal prosecutors are expected to take over the case in the future.

Copyright  2015 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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