FBI: MD Anderson doctor had child porn on his work computer

June 11, 2015

Dr. Dennis Hughes

[with video]

GALVESTON, Texas - The child cancer doctor accused of downloading child pornography is back home Wednesday night.

Dr. Dennis Hughes was granted bail after the disturbing details of the FBI's investigation were laid out in court. Neither he nor his wife Claire said anything to reporters as they each walked out of Galveston County Jail.

Federal agents said that Dr. Hughes looked at child pornography out of anger. It's something he'd been doing since the late 1990's and something about which he felt guilty, once even confessing to a priest.

"We just hope we can pick up the pieces and he can move on with his life," said Neil Davis, Hughes' defense attorney.

Hughes was arrested at his Pearland home last Friday, June 5 and charged with possession of child pornography.

The court ordered Hughes to wear a GPS monitor at all times, not to access the Internet, surrender his passport, have no unsupervised contact with minors (except his children) and not be near places where children regularly congregate, such as schools and parks.

At the hearing in Galveston, Hughes' wife testified that she did not know of her husband's alleged activities.

An FBI agent testified that they also found child porn on Hughes' work computer, although there was no evidence of patients being involved.

Additional information was also presented that Hughes regularly participates in childrens' activities at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School including the Lord's Day Program, in which he sings songs in a classroom with children. In addition, Hughes was allegedly scheduled to participate in their vacation bible school later this month. He was also a regular fixture at the children's chapel and was known to take pictures of the children at the school.

The FBI tracked down Hughes during an international investigation into child porn sites. The agent said Hughes was using a site that masked users' identities.

Hughes was dressed in a green jumpsuit and remained quiet throughout most of the hearing. He sobbed briefly after his wife's testimony.

Hughes has been placed on paid administrative leave. He is not allowed to access patient records or visit M.D. Anderson.

His attorney said the doctor will plead not guilty. Davis released the following statement:

"He is charged federally with one count of receiving and possessing child pornography, NOT with making or distributing it. There is no allegation he had any improper contact with his patients or any other minors. He never has had any such improper contact."

Neighbors in his upscale Pearland subdivision did not want to comment Wednesday night. A federal grand jury in Houston will hear his case in the next 30 days and decide whether or not to indict him

If convicted, Hughes faces up to 20 years in prison for possession of child pornography and up to five years as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.