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Man pleads guilty to exploitation of children
cox michael
Michael Terrence Cox - photo by Submitted
A Forsyth County man pleaded guilty Monday to 12 counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Michael Terrence Cox, 57, told Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley that he was “guilty of doing something stupid.”

Court records show Cox was arrested Oct. 9, 2008, after authorities found images of child pornography on his home computer.

Cox’s sentencing is scheduled for March 3. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.

Cox told Bagley he accidentally found Web sites featuring graphic images of children because of a virus.

He said the Web sites came up while he was searching for information on crocheting.

Authorities began monitoring Cox’s Internet activity in May 2008. He said he downloaded the images so he could report them, though he never did.

“In retrospect, I should’ve called the police,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Scalia said Cox used a file-sharing program in order to access the images.

“He was going to a file-sharing program and purposely downloading long clips of children being molested,” she said, adding that many of the images were of kids between the ages of 2 and 5.

She said his story that he was trying to help law enforcement was “a convenient excuse.”

Bagley granted a request from Cox’s appointed attorney, Bert Barker, for a pre-sentencing investigation.

Cox’s wife sobbed as a Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy handcuffed and escorted him out of the courtroom.

On his way out, Cox looked at his wife and said, “I’m sorry.”