Grapevine police officer arrested in child porn case is single father

FORT WORTH -- The Grapevine police officer who was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges is the single father of a child, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Sgt. Philip Woolery, 46 is accused of purchasing sexually explicit DVDs over the Internet and having them mailed to his home in Crowley.

Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said the agency has taken custody of Woolery's child and is trying to place the child with relatives.

"We would definitely interview the child and try to confirm that there was no abuse in the home," Gonzales said.

A 17-year veteran of the Grapevine Police Department, Woolery was arrested on suspicion of receiving explicit material in the mail that contained "lewd and lascivious depictions of minors."

Wearing purple shorts, a white 2002 TCU T-shirt and a pair of loafers, Woolery said little in his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cuerton. Woolery was asked to verify the spelling of his first name and to confirm that he couldn't afford his own attorney.

Cuerton appointed public defender William Hermesmeyer to represent him. Hermesmeyer declined to comment after the hearing.

Woolery was arrested by investigators with the Postal Inspection Service, which connected his home address and e-mail to a January 2010 purchase of a DVD set that included images of child pornography.

When authorities searched his house on Tuesday, they seized that DVD set and spoke to Woolery, who admitted that he ordered the DVDs, according to U.S. attorney's office press release.

"I spoke with Woolery, and he acknowledged ordering DVDs containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct," Postal Inspection Service special agent Brody Burns said in a criminal complaint.

The video showed three naked boys in an apartment, the complaint said.

"The boys remained naked throughout the video and were filmed doing flips onto an air-mattress in the middle of the room," the complaint said.

"The camera was positioned at the end of the air-mattress to capture the images of the boys' genitals ... as they do somersaults and flips toward the camera."

In the complaint, Burns said the boys' actions "did not appear natural" and it appeared they were "prompted by the cameraman."

The investigation began in October 2010 when inspectors received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a company was offering child pornography videos for sale over the Internet.

The company's records, which included a customer database of orders, were seized. Woolery's home address and e-mail were connected to a Jan.1, 2010, purchase order.

Woolery was placed on administrative leave Tuesday after his arrest by Grapevine police, which will conduct its own investigation, said police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling. Woolery works in the Uniform Operations Division.

The Postal Inspection Service declined to comment, referring all inquiries to the U.S. attorney's office.

Woolery was released from the Tarrant County Jail Wednesday morning to the custody of the Postal Inspection Service.

The penalty for receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography is five to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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