A former Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday to state charges of computer theft and violating his oath as a peace officer.
Milton Scott Pruitt is currently serving a 2009 federal prison sentence of eight years and two months for knowingly receiving child pornography on his work and home computers.
His attorney, Ann Fitz, said that Pruitt doesn’t agree with the decision in the federal case, but he wanted to put the state charges to rest.
“These are minor issues that he has to tie up to put this behind him,” Fitz said.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in April 2011, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied hearing Pruitt’s case in October.
Pruitt was not present Wednesday in Forsyth County Superior Court since he is serving his sentence in Arizona, with a scheduled release of August 2016.
Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley agreed to grant the negotiated plea for Pruitt.
Pruitt received 10 years of additional probation for the state charges, which included three counts of violation of oath by peace officer, and 10 years to be served concurrent to his federal sentence.
As a special condition of probation, he will be banished from Forsyth County.
Bagley did make a minor change to the plea deal as written, which stated Pruitt could not consume alcohol “to excess.” The judge said Pruitt cannot possess or consume any alcohol.
Since Pruitt was not present to agree to the change, Bagley allowed him 60 days to withdraw his plea.
If the case went to trial, Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge said, the evidence would show that Pruitt had in fact violated his oath of office.
Partridge said Pruitt had used his county-issued laptop while parked behind a business with free wireless service to access child pornography files related to a case under investigation by an agency detective.
The state, she said, agreed not to pursue four counts related to files on a personal computer storage device as part of the plea. Pruitt denied guilt in those counts.
Pruitt was accused of using his county issued computer to access files belonging to the sheriff’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce without authorization. He was fired in May 2007 amid the allegations.
Less than a week after the former sergeant’s termina tion, he was arrested and charged with 20 felony counts of violation of the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act.
In addition, he was charged with one count each of theft by taking, theft by conversion, computer trespass and violation of oath of office.
He later ran unsuccessfully for sheriff against Ted Paxton in the July 2008 Republican primary, finishing second in a three-man race.