This is the story of a man wrongfully convicted of Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. The charges are for the alleged possession of child pornography on his computer. His name is Tad Dexter and he is my husband.
In August 2002, Tad Dexter’s live-in girlfriend contacted the FBI via email and reported that he belonged to a child porn group with Yahoo and that he was viewing child pornography. This is when the legal issues began but not the story.
Tad and Lisa met at an NA meeting four years prior to the allegations. Soon after they met, they began having an affair. Tad was divorced but Lisa was still married. She told Tad that her husband was abusive and that she wanted out of the relationship. I knew Lisa and her husband very well. This man, who has cerebral palsy, has never been a violent person. Lisa, on the other hand, has a history of violent outbursts and abusive behavior. Of course, Tad did not know her husband and Lisa could be very convincing.
Soon after the affair started, Lisa left her husband and rented a house a few miles away. Tad moved in with her almost immediately. His original intentions were purely sexual but they ended up in a relationship. Things were okay for a while but--as Lisa’s ex once warned Tad--things would change and he would be sorry. Truer words were never spoken. Lisa’s problems with alcohol and drugs resurfaced, as did her violent behavior (she is bipolar). She would get drunk and try to fight with him. One night he locked her out of the house because she was so drunk and violent. He called the sheriff’s department to come and get her. He was on the phone with them when she put her fist through the wooden door inside the porch. They arrested Lisa when they arrived. One of the deputies saw scratches on her arm and asked what happened. Tad said it happened when she put her fist through the door. They didn’t believe him and arrested him for assault on a female (a judge dismissed the charges). Oddly enough, I had pulled into the driveway as the deputy was taking Tad to the car (he was angry with me for not keeping my word by bringing Lisa home). Earlier that night, we had all gone to a local bar. Tad and Lisa went together. I was with my youngest sister. Tad was tired and wanted to go home; I told him I would take Lisa home. Soon after Tad left, a man I had been seeing came in and we started talking. He asked me to go over to his house for a while. Lisa and my sister told me to go ahead and that they would find a ride home. They did and Lisa ended up having sex with the person that took her home; Tad was in the next room asleep. There’s a bit more to that story but I won’t go into it. This was in September 2001. The relationship continued to decline.
Near the end of the relationship, Tad was getting more involved in Internet pornography—adult pornography. He had always looked at porn and had a collection of movies that he and Lisa watched together. However, he started looking at more and more of it and he was chatting with other women online (he readily admits he had an issue with it). Lisa was very jealous and angry about it. She called me one day and was upset about his contacting other women, younger women, around 19 or 20. She said it was making her feel inadequate and she wanted him to stop. (After discussing it with Tad since we have been together, I found out that they were both looking at porn on the Internet; however, she didn’t want him doing it without her. She also told my mother she had posted sexual photos of herself on the Internet—information my mother DID NOT care to know.) At this point, the relationship was all but over. He wanted out but his business was in the garage next to the house they rented and he couldn’t just up and leave. He offered to help her find another place to live but she wouldn’t leave. She originally rented the house in her name so there was nothing he could do, legally. Eventually, he just decided to leave anyway. Unfortunately, he injured his knee during horseplay with one of Lisa’s daughters. The injury required surgery, and he was laid up for a while. He was planning to go stay with his parents but Lisa begged him not to leave and she asked for another chance. She said she would take care of him while he recovered. He stayed but now regrets it.
Around this time, Tad met a man who helped turn his life around. He did some work for the man and got to know him a little; the man invited him to go to church. This is when he started finding his way back to God. Tad had been involved in church many years before, during his first marriage, but when he and his wife separated, the church “sided” with her. He was very hurt by it and avoided church altogether after that. This was a big step for him. Of course, Lisa, who was always anxious to keep herself in every aspect of Tad’s life, invited herself to go to church. (When married to her second husband, Lisa went through a “religious” phase and become very involved in church. She did the same again but had difficulty holding the two sides of herself together—the good girl at church and the abusive, alcoholic drug addict at home.) Tad became very close to the minister of the church, who talked to him about the life he was living. The minister warned him about Lisa (he saw something evil in her) and he tried to convince Tad to go through with his plans to get out of the relationship, especially since they were not married. It was too late.
In October 2002, the FBI, SBI, and local law enforcement came to the house with a search warrant stating that it had been reported that he, Tad Dexter, was in “violation of North Carolina General Statutes: 14-190.17A, Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. When the officers arrived, Lisa was about four or five miles away at work. Tad had only been up for a short while and was drinking his coffee while looking at adult porn and chatting online. After the search warrant was presented, one of the officers went to Lisa’s jobsite and had her come home. The officers seized all of the computers and/or hard drives, along with disks, movies, and various items. He gave them a bong he had that he was repairing for someone else and anything else he thought they might be looking for. Tad even took them to the garage and gave them some disks he had out there. The afternoon of the search, when Lisa’s daughter came home from school, Lisa gave her a disk and told her to hide it in her room just in case they (law enforcement) came back and she forbid her to look at it. This is a clear indication that she had prior knowledge of the time of the search and that the disk contained something she did not want them to see. (For legal reasons, I cannot say how I know the following information. A copy of the aforementioned disk surfaced before the trial. One particular image, and perhaps more, would be very incriminating for Lisa. The disk was mentioned in my husband’s trial but vaguely. Nothing of its true content was ever divulged.)
Prior to the search, Lisa kept denying making the report whenever the agents tried to contact her. She called me after the search and said, “Somebody reported that Tad was looking at child porn. I don’t know who would do something like that.” (The following is information that cannot be verified for obvious reasons. After Tad ended the relationship, the minister that had advised him to do so told Tad something he, the minister, was suppose to keep in confidence. However, he felt it was extremely important to share the information with Tad. The minister said that Lisa admitted to him that she had made the report and that the FBI gave her the idea. On a previous occasion, she had contacted them about Tad looking at adult porn all the time and she wanted to do something to make him stop. They told her it was perfectly legal and there was nothing they could do unless it was child pornography. Obviously, this gave her the idea to report him for doing something he never did. The minister also told Tad that she said, not in confidence but in an angry outburst on another occasion, “I will do everything I can to destroy Tad’s life.” Unfortunately, the minister had health problems and had a near death experience. Doctors were able to bring him back but his memory of much of what occurred was lost.)
As for Tad’s past, it aggravated the situation. He had a criminal history but it was rather old. His record showed that he had been convicted of Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child in 1981. This was an error. He was never convicted of such a crime and the record has since been corrected. He was, however, convicted of two counts of indecent exposure in Virginia in 1981 (once for walking from his bathroom to the laundry room to get a towel; someone saw him through the window and reported it.) He was also convicted of indecent exposure in New Jersey in 1980 (he was twenty-years-old). There were other arrests but no convictions, one that wasn’t even him; it was a case of mistaken identity. He will admit that he was a bit of a bad boy but that’s just it, he was young and stupid. Unfortunately, convictions that were well over twenty-years-old and the “word” of an embittered, unstable girlfriend were enough to issue the warrant.
In December, Tad moved out of the house and into a building a few miles away. Some of the men at the church helped him to set up shop as a mechanic. During this time, he worked on his relationship with the Lord and tried to put the past behind him. It was around this time when Lisa called me one day and told me that it was all true. That Tad had been looking at pictures of little girls. I knew immediately that she wasn’t being truthful. I had known her for several years and, at times, we had been very close friends. I knew her well enough to tell when she was pouring it on a bit too thick and this was one of those times. During this time, she was harassing Tad and was convicted for harassing phones calls; Tad also had a restraining order against her. She was very heavy into drugs again and was having problems with her daughter, who was fifteen. (She had another daughter that had been living with her grandmother ever since Lisa went into rehab for crack addiction several years earlier and she had a son from her previous marriage; he lived with his father.) Problems with the daughter that still lived at home worsened when she had someone help her view incriminating photos of her mother (the disk was encrypted). One of the photos was of Lisa engaged in sex with four boys that her daughter knew from school. (The daughter, my son, and other friends and relatives saw the images on the disk.) Her daughter was so infuriated, hurt, and embarrassed that she decided to come and live with me for a while. Her mother was very nasty to her and to me. That was when what little bit of friendship we had left ended. I could not tolerate the abuse of her daughter any longer. I went to social services to ask for help (the child had health problems but her mother wouldn’t okay treatment) but they said, “Try to work it out with her mother if you can; we really don’t want to get involved.” This was very typical of the local DSS at the time. Unfortunately, Lisa played the “poor me; I’m all alone” pity card and the child went back home. Six months later, she was sixteen-years-old and living in a crack house. She has since been in jail, facing felony charges because of her own addiction, and her one-year-old son has been taken away by Child Protective Services; sometimes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Now we can get to Tad and me. Tad was my mechanic when he was living with Lisa and remained my mechanic after they ended the relationship. I was a single mom, going to school and struggling to get by, working four part-time cleaning jobs. If anything, he felt sorry for me and tried to help me out without charging me an arm and a leg like most mechanics. Sometime around the end of April, first of May 2003, I started having serious car trouble. I took it to Tad and he said it was time to start looking for another car. He worked on the car and worked on it but couldn’t get it straightened out. I had a friend who was selling his daughter’s car and he let me get it and pay when I could. I was suppose to let Tad look at it before I bought it but I was impatient and bought it without having him check it. There were problems with the car but he was able to fix the immediate issue. It was around this time that the Matrix Reloaded came out at one of the local theatres. We both liked science fiction (we especially like Star Trek: TNG) and were interested in seeing the movie. Neither of us was dating anyone, nor were we interested in dating anyone at the time. As such, we decided, as friends, to go see the movie together. We enjoyed the movie and the company.
About two weeks later, he asked me out for dinner. He has since told me that it took him forever to do it because he was very nervous about it. Anyway, we had dinner at a local restaurant and we both had a great time talking with each other. When he brought me home, I invited him in for a while. We talked then he said he had an early day the next day and needed to call it a night. I walked him to the door and as he was leaving, I gave him a little peck of a kiss. The look on his face was a cross between fear, confusion, and shock—I couldn’t tell which. I said it wasn’t a big deal; it was the kind of kiss I would give my children. He quickly went out the door and went to his truck. He seemed to hesitate in the driveway but then left. I shrugged it off, dressed for bed, piddled about the house, and then checked my email. When it came up, I had a new message from Tad with the subject line, “I’m an idiot.” I opened the email and he apologized for the way he reacted to the kiss. We ended up going to chat (something I had only done once for about 30 seconds) and chatted for a very long time.
The next morning, he came by on his way into town and said he wanted a do over (or something to that affect) for the kiss. I had just crawled out of bed and had not brushed my teeth so I held of a finger said “hold on a minute.” I quickly brushed my teeth and when I came back, he kissed me. This was in June 2003; we married in August and have been together ever since.
Unfortunately, the situation created by Lisa was with us, as well. Tad had been in contact with the SBI agent, Hans Miller, several times since the search. He was concerned about getting his property back (family photos on disk, legally licensed software, etc.). Miller did return a couple of items to Lisa soon after Tad moved out but one of the items belonged to Tad; she returned it to him. Nevertheless, he still never received the aforementioned items. I pushed Tad to be a bit more forceful with the agent so that this issue would not be hanging over us, a decision I now regret.
Tad Dexter and Rhonda Breed's Wedding
January 21, 2004, after Tad and I were married, the SBI agent came to our home to discuss the investigation (this was the date given by the agent in court). My husband was very honest with the agent; however, the agent was not at all honest with him. As stated previously, my husband wanted his property returned and we wanted this mess behind us. Agent Miller told my husband, “I did find some images on your computer that meet the standard for child pornography”. He also said that it was obvious that he was not into child porn, given the volume of adult porn images. I find these statements questionable since court transcripts indicate Agent Miller never examined my husband’s hard drive until January 20-21, 2004. It is odd that he would examine the hard drive the day he schedules an interview over two hours away, more than two years after the search. The agent examined the other computer hard drives and various disks between January 2003 and September 2003. In court, the agent stated that my husband told him he knew that “Lolita” meant sexual pictures of little girls. My husband did not ever say that. The agent did try to get my husband to say it but he did not say it. He belonged to lolitateen.com, a legally licensed adult porn site. He also said in court that my husband said he did look at child pornography on the Internet. Again, this is not what my husband said. He said that he had joined a group in Yahoo and that he received a zip file from the group. When he opened it, he quickly realized what it was—child porn. He told the agent that he deleted the file and withdrew from the group. Lisa had also joined the group (she was breaking into Tad’s email and joined all groups he joined). She emailed the same zip file to Tad. The agent, in court, said that he could never find any such files. The difference here is between “looking” for something and “seeing” something. The agent intentionally changed the wording in order to change the meaning.
There were other things discussed during the interview; however, the agent stated in court that that conversation took place over the phone months earlier. In other words, the agent could not keep his stories straight. Unfortunately, my husband’s attorney had the bright idea to keep all witnesses sequestered. It was a huge mistake. I never knew about all of the lies of the agent until after the trial was over because I was the last person to testify. We abided by the judges orders and my husband did not discuss anyone’s testimony with me. My husband’s attorney never asked me about the interview or much of anything for that matter.
Now, I’ll try to bring us back to the timeline before court. After the agent’s interview, he still did not return any of the requested property. My husband, after numerous contacts with the agent, finally contacted his supervisor. The supervisor, of course, sent him back to the agent. As a last resort, my husband contacted an attorney and had him draft a letter to the Assistant District Attorney, Laura Bell (this was sometime around October or November 2004). The letter was threatening civil action against the agent if he did not return my husband’s property. Before long, the ADA and the agent were planning to file charges; we received notification of this from the attorney in a letter dated January 26, 2005. In February 2005, my husband was arrested for one count of Third Degree Exploitation of a Minor. The ADA wanted him to plead guilty. Pretrial discovery, such as it was, contained a copy of three stick on notes apparently written by the ADA: 1) Tad Dexter wants family photos CD back, or copy. 2)-forfeit all items/contraband-lots of bootleg software-computer itself negotiable 3) (m) simple possession sexual photos-3rd d. exploitation of minor…probation okay-sex off. registration (in a circle) over 30 charges.
My husband refused to plea to an offense for which he was not guilty, especially one requiring him to register as a sex offender. Anyone that has ever had dealings with the legal system anywhere in the United States knows that not agreeing to a plea goes against the grain. By not accepting the plea, my husband angered the prosecutor, well known for allowing her personal feelings to interfere with her professionalism. This time was no exception. Because of issues with the grand jury, the situation continued to drag on for a very long time. Because of my husband’s refusal to take the plea, the ADA took it to the grand jury, which indicted him for nineteen counts of Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. He was rearrested (something he was told would not happen), in October 2005—more than three years after the initial report. I was fifty miles away at the time, attending classes at East Carolina University. He was taken before Judge Spencer in district court and asked if he could be released with a written promise to appear, as was done before. The ADA shook her head “no” and the judge retained the $5000 bond set by the magistrate. My husband had no choice but to call his elderly father, who does not like to drive (nor does he need to) to come and sign his bond.
During my husband’s first appearance, he was assigned a court appointed attorney. The area in which we live does not have a public defender’s office; those who cannot afford attorneys are assigned a defender from a pool of local attorneys. The first attorney, Mr. Mills, was not very helpful. He did manage to get us part of the pretrial discovery but that was about it. My husband wanted to have a probable cause hearing but the attorney said, “They don’t usually do those in Pamlico County.” As such, my husband never had one. The attorney would rarely take or return calls and he kept continuing the case without discussing it with my husband. One day, we sat in court all day waiting to be called. Finally, my husband went to the Clerk of Courts office to see what was wrong. The attorney had continued the case without notifying us. Laura Bell, the ADA, knew why we were there and never said a word to us. She just let us sit there all day. (This is a very small community where everyone knows everyone else or at least almost everyone—she knew exactly who we were and why we were there.) After that, my husband fired the attorney. His next attorney, Mr. Long, didn’t set well from the first visit. He would not allow me to join my husband in his office; he said he could only speak with him alone. When he looked at my husband’s file he said, “I don’t know anything about computers. There’s nothing I can do for you; you might as well plea guilty.” Afterward, my husband found out from the judge that he had the right to have a computer expert hired by the state to help him, something the attorney said could not be done. Needless to say, it didn’t take long to fire the second attorney (he is now working as an assistant district attorney with Laura Bell).
In court, again, my husband fired the attorney and was assigned Mr. McAfee. When we first met with Mr. McAfee, we were very impressed. He was very knowledgeable about computers and seemed eager to help. Unfortunately, things were not as they first appeared. One thing that sticks out was regarding the images that were supposedly found on my husband’s computer. The attorney said the prosecutor was going to have a pediatrician, my daughter’s pediatrician, testify as to the approximate age of the minors in the images. We never saw the images, only blurry black and white copies with most of the images blacked out. Anyway, the attorney said it would be best to stipulate that all of the images were indeed child pornography. He said this would be better since some of the images were very disturbing, even one of the children was in a crib. (After reading the trial transcript, I found that there was no such image ever admitted into evidence.) Another key factor in the case was the timeline. The attorney told us that ten of the images for which my husband was indicted were downloaded the morning of the search, over an approximately fifteen-minute period after 8:00 am. Lisa said that she was at work during that time, giving herself an alibi. My husband does not believe she was at work at the time but is not sure. He was still sleeping at the time. We assumed that the attorney had verification that she was at work—I later found out that there was no time card verifying her time at work. (I did speak to the woman she worked for and she said that they had a truck come in that morning and Lisa was suppose to be in at 6:30 and, to the best of her recollection, she was. Nevertheless, the house was only about five minutes away from her place of employment. Her daughter said that she was home because the bus was late that day; however, this was not known until after the closing arguments due to the attorney’s ill-conceived idea to sequester.)
Of course, it was not necessary for her to be there at a specific time to place material on the computer—maybe she was there maybe she was not. I am not the most “computer literate” person in the world but I knew enough to realize the time in a computer can be changed and doing so would time stamp any downloaded material with that time. The attorney and my husband, who are both more computer savvy than I, agreed that changing the time in the bios then changing it back would make it appear as if the information was downloaded at the time set. The attorney used this angle in court but the members of the jury had limited, if any, computer knowledge and didn’t comprehend this possibility.
My husband was very honest with the attorney (the attorney said he was “too honest” and recommended that he not testify and he didn’t). He told him about the zip file he had seen and he talked to him about his problems with adult pornography. He also discussed his previous criminal record. As previously mentioned, one of the arrests used in the search warrant wasn’t even my husband. My husband remembers being arrested for something to do with obscene material but never found out why. The arrest information was giving to the attorney. The man named as “Tad Dexter” was someone else. The “witness” in the case said she recognized the man as the one who had visited his son in the mobile home park where she lived. At the time, my husband’s son was fourteen and living in a brick house with his mother. It was an arrest that should not have been on my husband’s record. The attorney basically ignored it. Of course, there was the error in his record from 1981 that was also a contributing factor. Fortunately, the charges were so old that the judge did not allow them to be brought out in the trial; obviously, it did nothing to alter the outcome.
Finally, a month shy of five years after the initial report, my husband’s trial began. Just moments before the start of the trail, the prosecutor offered my husband another deal. She said she would accept of guilty plea for possession of drug paraphernalia, a crime for which was guilty. Everyone agreed to the plea—prosecutor, attorney, judge, and Tad—and the papers were signed. When the prosecutor contacted the DA, Scott Thomas, he said no. He said to try him for the charges and the plea bargain was withdrawn. The trial proceeded.
The county in which we live only has superior court once a quarter and it lasts only for four days; district court is every Friday. As such, the trial was rushed by the judge and prosecutor, even one of the jurors that “had something to do” Thursday afternoon and needed to be finished by then. The trial started Tuesday, July 11, 2006 and ended Thursday, July 13, 2006. As stated earlier, I was the last to testify so I missed the entire trial. I have since read the transcript and still find it hard to believe the jury found him guilty. Of course, he was not found guilty of all eighteen counts. (My husband’s first arrest was for one count. He was then indicted for nineteen more counts; however, he was only tried for eighteen counts. The prosecutor, I assume, assigned a different case number to the first count and included it in the nineteen counts. For some reason, however, one of the nineteen was not included in the second arrest warrant, only eighteen. We do not know what happened but we have our suspicions. Perhaps it was one of the same images found on Lisa’s computer. The trial transcript states, “So you had images, eight images of young females as well as a thumbnail for something called TeenXXX on her computer also?” It continues about her not being charged “…because upon further looking and consultation with the assistance district attorney, we determined that none of the images met the definition of child pornography.” Most of the images were of “young females performing oral sex on males.”)
As for the eighteen counts for which my husband was arrested, the judge threw out eight of the charges because they were images that had been deleted; they were not accessible without special software, software that the agent used. Of the remaining ten, the jury said not guilty to one of them. I found out after the trial that they would have said not guilty to three more if they had been allowed to see the images again. The jury was only given the very long case numbers for deliberation. When they asked to see the photos again, the judge would not allow it. They did not think that four of the ten images met the criteria for child pornography. The jury could not remember which ones. The jury foreman, according to the jury member I spoke with, remembered one of the numbers; that is the one they entered as "not guilty." I cannot understand how the jury said guilty. They had doubt but one thing the woman said really stuck in my mind, “Well, he was looking at pornography and that’s wrong anyway.” I feel that perhaps he was found guilty because they did not agree, morally, with what he was doing “legally.” Another thing is what the judge said to me after the trial. He was in the hallway and I approached him alone. I thanked him for doing his job (I was trying to be polite). He said, “That ex-girlfriend—she’s really something else.” I said that she had not always been like that. Then he said, “I’m surprised the jury found him guilty.” That tells me right there that he did not believe my husband was guilty and he had the power to overturn the juries decision. It was an election year; I will say no more.
The nine charges were consolidated down to three for the purpose of sentencing. He was given six to eight months for each of the three counts. The sentence was suspended with sixty days active in the local jail, three years of supervised probation (six months intensive), and assessment at a licensed facility. He is subject to warrantless searches and seizure by any law enforcement officer for the probationary period and he is not to possess any pornography, which is no longer an issue for him anyway. Nevertheless, the worst part is required registration as a sex offender.
Everything was on hold pending his appeal. The appeal was rejected, with the NC Court of Appeals finding no error. His appellate defender told us that she was trying to take it to the NC Supreme Court since the case will set precedence. Of course, my husband just wants a new trial and, by the grace of God, hopes to get it through a Motion for Appropriate Relief. There were many things not presented at trial that could certainly have swayed the jury the other way. They had some doubt as it was. (There is proof that Lisa lied under oath about one thing; thus, indicating she would not hesitate to lie about other things. She stated that she had been clean and sober for five years and did not drink or use drugs until 2002. It was in 2001 when the aforementioned night out and resulting assault arrest occurred.)
Tad Enjoying Christmas With His Family
My husband was taken into custody December 4, 2007. We had no idea this would happen before all steps for appeal had been exhausted. It was devastating for all of us. My daughter watched one officer snatch my husband for trying to walk in the house and give me the money in his pocket. It was unnecessary force and now my daughter has no respect for law enforcement and even fears this particular officer (I apologize to good officers that I know exist somewhere out there).
In the year and a half since the trial, I have played it over and over again in my head. There was so much that should have been said and done but wasn’t, not to mention what has since occurred. Please continue reading to the end.
1. The disk that belonged to Lisa and contained the incriminating images should have been submitted as evidence.
2. A young woman that Tad said Lisa was sexually interested in during an interview with Miller should have been questioned. It has since been brought to my attention that Lisa propositioned the young girl when she was around fifteen and traded sexually explicit emails with the girl.
3. Lisa stated in court that she awoke in the middle of the night and saw Tad looking at child pornography while masturbating. Lisa has very poor vision. If she did wake up and see anything, it was a big blur. She also stated that she came home from work early, walked in the bedroom, and saw him looking at a sexual picture of a girl that looked around fourteen. The computer monitor was located in a direction opposite the door; it would have been impossible to see anything from the bedroom door.
4. The attorney should have demonstrated how easy it would be to change the time in the computer bios.
5. The attorney should have asked for verification that Lisa was at work at the time of the search (there was no time card and no employer as a witness).
6. The attorney should have asked me about the conversation that took place in our home with the SBI agent.
7. The attorney should have questioned why there were no images found prior to the initial report made in August 2002. Forensic examination did not find any suspect images that dated prior to September 2002.
8. The attorney should have discussed the problem between my husband and the agent regarding the return of property and why nothing was done until after an attorney was hired.
9. The attorney should have asked why the last item examined was the hard drive that was, supposedly, the “smoking gun” in the report.
10. The attorney should have pointed out the key dates and other material in his closing argument, which was very unimpressive (those dates are listed below and the list carries you through what transpired after the trial ended).
a. August 2, 2002: Initial report
b. August 15, 2002: Investigator contacts Lisa at work; she denies any knowledge of the report (she continuously denied the report)
c. October 2, 2002: Search and seizure
d. January 9, 2003: Forensic examination of two generic desktop tower located in the dining room (one belonging to Lisa had the previously mentioned images on it)
e. January 28, 2003: Forensic examination of a third generic desktop tower located in the dining room (nothing was found because the hard drive was bad)
f. June 4, 2003: Forensic examination of a Caviar hard drive, also located in the dining room (nothing of consequence found)
g. June 4, 2003: Examination of 103 CDs and 12 floppy disks and other miscellaneous items (two CDs with, according to Miller, “suspected child pornography” but “couldn’t be sure of the age”)
h. June 17, 2003: Examination of 64 CDs and three floppy disks (three CDs with, according to Miller, “suspected child pornography” but “couldn’t be a hundred percent sure they were under age.”)
i. July 22, 2003: Examination of three CDs and 2 floppy disks (nothing of consequence found)
j. July 22, 2003: Examination of one floppy disk (three suspect images but “sufficient doubt as to the age”)
k. July 22, 2003: Examination of 4 CDs and 19 floppy disks (nothing of consequence found)
l. July 22, 2003: Examined 23 CDs (nothing relative to child pornography found)
m. September 10, 2003: Examined the contents of a lockbox (the agent found “nothing relative to the case)
n. January 20-21, 2004: Examination of CD from the bedroom labeled personal movies (contained “a large volume of adult pornography”)
o. January 20-21, 2004: Forensic examination of Tad’s hard drive (the agent said he found “36 electronic files of suspected child pornography….These particular files that I [Agent Miller] noted to be of investigative interest were contained in a cookie folder, a temporary Internet file folder and in recovered folders”)
p. January 21, 2004: Interview at my home (I am not convinced of the date)
q. October or November 2004 (?): A letter was sent to the ADA threatening suit of Miller for not returning my husband’s property
r. January 26, 2005: Attorney hired to send letter about return of property sends letter warning of inevitable arrest
s. February 7, 2005: Initial arrest for one count of Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
t. October 13(?), 2005: Arrested for eighteen counts of TDSEM
u. July 11, 2006: Trial (lasted only three days due to superior courts very limited schedule)
v. August, 2007: Appeal
w. November, 2007: Appellate court found no error
x. December 4, 2007: Taken into custody after loss of appeal
y. January 27, 2008: Released from jail
z. January 29, 2008: Forced to register as a sex offender and begin intensive probation, which requires a 6:00 am to 7:00 pm curfew for six months; subject to warrantless searches and seizures at anytime—day or night—for the next three years; any little violation could result in the revocation of probation and up to two years of imprisonment; must pay $150 a month for the next thirty-four months to cover attorney’s fees, court costs, and probation fees
aa. May/June 2008: State appointed “therapist” recommends “treatment” based upon misinformation and inadequate assessment, requiring traveling to her office for weekly group therapy at a cost of $25 per meeting (the therapist has since resigned)
bb. July 2008: Another therapist feels that my husband’s story is believable and that the other therapist’s assessment is questionable. However, he recommends treatment in all cases where there is a guilty verdict or plea. He is requiring eighteen sessions, at $75 per session for the next nine to eighteen months (depending on how my husband chooses to comply).
cc. August 13, 2008: We meet with probation officer to discuss financial problems, he says we need to finish the treatment but not to worry about the probation fees, etc. and catch up later, but if unable to do so, it would have to go in front of a judge (a few days after, at our home, we tell the PO that we may not be able to afford the treatments and other probation expenses)
dd. September 10, 2008: We told the PO that some things had happened and we discussed trying to get things caught up and move on with the required “treatment” without going into court. He said, “It’s too late” and arrested my husband for probation violation (something he said he would not do; he said he would just give him a court date)
ee. September 29, 2008 (Tad Dexter’s 49th birthday): My husband offers evidence showing his attempts to comply and discusses issues with finances, he also introduces a recording of the PO stating that the money wasn’t an issue (although it was one of the violations). The judge sentences my husband to sixty days in jail and my husband replied that it would do nothing to help our financial problems, after she said something else (can’t remember exactly what was said), my husband proclaimed that the PO had lied on the stand and perjured himself; the judge says he didn’t and revoked my husband’s probation and turned him over to the custody of the NC Department of Corrections to serve his active sentence of three, consecutive six to eight month sentences. My family is devastated.
It is amazing how a few moments of vindictive anger on the part of an unstable woman has wreaked havoc on the lives of so many. Even worse, is the “justice” system that allowed it to happen. I do not understand God’s purpose in allowing the suffering that my family and endures but I hope that it serves some greater purpose beyond us. It has been very difficult, almost unbearable at times. Nevertheless, we trust in God’s infinite wisdom and hold onto the hope that this wrong will be made right—someday.
(As of the date of revocation, over $500 had been paid toward fees and restitution and $600 had been paid in assessments and treatment.)
The Dexter Family,
A Family Destroyed by False Allegations and Malicious Prosecution
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