Marine faces court-martial next week on child pornography charges

A Marine arrested last year on child pornography charges faces a general court-martial next week at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service arrested Gunnery Sgt. Troy Pearson in October for wrongful possession and distribution of child pornography while he was home on a two-week leave from a deployment to Afghanistan, said Gunnery Sgt. Chad McMeen, air station spokesman.

Pearson also was charged with violating an order from U.S. Central Command that bans the possession of pornography by troops stationed in Afghanistan.

NCIS declined to release information on how the pornography was discovered or about materials seized in the investigation.

Pearson is an aircraft maintenance officer attached to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 and has been in the Corps for more than 20 years, McMeen said. McMeen declined to release Pearson's age, citing Defense Department and Navy guidelines for releasable information.

Pearson awaits trial at the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston. Proceedings are scheduled to begin Tuesday, McMeen said. The court-martial is expected to run through March 12, according to the Corps.

If convicted, Pearson could be sentenced to up to 20 years in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and risks being stripped of his rank and dishonorably discharged from the Corps.