By Miya Shay
ABC 13
June 10, 2015

[with video]

A pediatric cancer doctor accused of possessing child porn was released on bond Wednesday afternoon, 5 days after his arrest.

Dr. Dennis Hughes walked out of the Galveston County Jail to a crowd of media. He didn't say a word about the accusations against him.

On Friday, the world-renowned doctor was arrested in his Pearland home for allegedly possessing thousands of images of child pornography in his home. Federal agencies say the MD Anderson doctor had more than 8,200 images of young girls inside his home. MD Anderson has contacted more than 200 of his patients and have placed him on paid administrative leave.

When Dr. Hughes was released, we tried to ask him about exclusive Eyewitness News information about his arrest for indecent exposure in 2002, when he was a fellow at the University of Michigan. He had no comment. He was eventually acquitted on that charge. Wednesday, he got into a waiting vehicle with his wife and left.

Dr. Hughes is out on $50,000 bond. There are a number of conditions, including no Internet and not being able to be near children except for his own.

His lawyers say they plan to fight this in the court system, though they do admit the doctor has issues and will get treatment.

Earlier Wednesday, Hughes was in court to face those charges in a detention hearing in Galveston County.
Tap or click here to read the court documents.

Among those who testified were his devastated wife, who told the court that she had no idea her husband would allegedly wake up in the middle of the night and view these child pornographic images. She left the court nearly in tears with her father.

According to FBI agents, Hughes has been viewing child pornography since the 1990s. They also say that the images were found not only on a disk at home but also on a computer at his work space at MD Anderson. He was arrested as part of an international investigation into child pornography. Investigators say they accidentally found him during the course of this wide-ranging investigation.

For the past 20 years, not only did they say he has viewed child porn but he has physically been around children in his personal life.

He has three kids of his own. They range from ages 5 to 9. He was involved with his children in their little league and their school and church activities at St. Vincent de Paul in southwest Houston. The church sent out a letter to parents with information and reassurance. Rev. Monsignor Bill Young said Dr. Hughes had passed an extensive criminal background check in order to be allowed to volunteer.

"We have no evidence or reason to believe any child in our church or school was involved in this. No evidence," said Msgr. Young.

The judge says because there is no evidence that he has actually abused any children and there are no allegations that he has abused any children, he is granting bond.

"This is obviously an issue he's been struggling with for years. The agent said he was relieved when they showed up. He needs treatment. He needs help and that's what we're working on getting him," said his defense attorney, Neal Davis, after the hearing.Meanwhile, the President of Pearland Little League issued the following statement:

  • "Dr. Hughes was subjected to an aggressive background check before being allowed to volunteer with the league. However, while his children continued to play in the league, Dr. Hughes did not submit an application to continue as a volunteer for the 2015 season and his involvement was limited to being a spectator in the stands. At this time we do not believe the actions of which Dr. Hughes is being accused had any impact on Pearland Little League including its players. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and work with law enforcement authorities as needed.

The Texas Medical Board receives thousands of complaints about doctors each year, and of those, a few hundred end in disciplinary action.

The TMB's "Look up a License" tool gives patients a quick and easy way to research their physician, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals.

After inputting your provider's name, you can find out if the licensee has been the subject of medical malpractice claims, has a criminal history, or if they have been disciplined by Texas or medical boards in other states.

But there's plenty of information the website won't tell you. It doesn't reveal the number of complaints filed against a physician or other lawsuits the provider has been involved in. While the TMB says it does perform its own criminal background checks, physicians are allowed to self-report their criminal history. Doctors are required to tell the state about any new arrests every two years when they renew their license.


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