Marine sentenced to 4 years in prison on child porn charges

A Beaufort Marine has been sentenced to four years in military prison after being found guilty of child pornography charges.

Gunnery Sgt. Troy Pearson, 44, was sentenced Thursday by a military judge after his one-day general court-martial at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and will serve his time at the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, according to air station officials.

Once released from prison, Pearson's rank will be reduced to private, and he will be dishonorably discharged from the Corps, said Gunnery Sgt. Chad McMeen, air station spokesman. The sentence also requires Pearson to forfeit all pay and allowances, according to the air station. It was unclear Friday whether that included his military pension.

Pearson, an aircraft mechanic with Marine Corps Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, has been in the Corps for more than 20 years, McMeen said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service arrested 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.

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.