Sunday, May 22, 2022

ICYMI – Coincidences, questions, and child pornography: The case of Justin Brochure

Justin Brochure is no longer in custody at the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office per a plea agreement with the state. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Justin Brochure is no longer in custody at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office per a plea agreement with the state. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — This week, Justin Brochure – son of Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure – pleaded no contest to dozens of child pornography charges as part of a deal with prosecutors in Brunswick County. Brochure, who could have faced decades in prison, was released from custody with several conditions

The case, which Port City Daily started covering in October of 2018, was full of questions — some of which remain unanswered. These questions include:

  • Why did not one but two Oak Island police chief resign in the week after Brochure was re-arrested for violating the terms of his initial pre-trial release agreement?
  • Why did the lead detective on the Brochure leave her position to become a community resource officer?
  • Why was Brochure’s bond lowered from $1 million to $50,000?
  • Did Oak Island officials know that Wilburn Ingram, III — the man hired after two other chiefs resigned — was at the center of a federal complaint, alleging that he sexually assault and harassed of an officer while serving as the chief of police for the town of Kinston in the 1990s?

Other questions surfaced as well, many of which were eventually dismissed as coincidences by Oak Island’s attorney. But some of the questions remain. Below, you can find Port City Daily’s complete coverage of the case, from Brochure’s re-arrest last year up until this week’s plea bargain.

In early October, 2018, Justin Brochure is arrested — or, rather, rearrested — on 31 counts of child pornography possession after violating the terms of his pre-trial release.

Oak Island Mayor’s son held on $2 million bond relating to child pornography charges

Immediately after Brochure’s arrest, the town’s police chief announced his resignation but gave no reason for leaving his position. The town continues to be the lead investigative agency on the Brochure case, although his mother is the mayor. The town declines to answers questions about the chief’s resignation or potential conflicts of interest.

The (is)land of confusion: Oak Island has no answers as police chief resigns, mayor’s son re-arrested on child-porn charges

Court records showed that Brochure was in contact with a minor, violating a key part of his pre-trial release. Meanwhile, Oak Island continued to ignore questions.

Oak Island silent as court records show more details, prompt more questions, about mayor’s son

Just a week after the town’s police chief resigned, the assistant chief followed suit. Bizarrely, the town refused to acknowledge the resignation or provide details of employment history.

Assistant Chief of Police for Oak Island resigns following sudden resignation of chief a week prior

Under a mounting number of public records requests, the town’s attorney finally responded – partially – to questions, saying that the two resignations, still unexplained, were unrelated to the ongoing investigation into Brochure.

Oak Island breaks silence, says top police resignations not connected to arrest of mayor’s son

The Oak Island Police Department refused to release the incident report that led to Brochure’s arrest and the town’s attorney threatened to redact a copy requested under the state’s open records law — even though such a redaction would violate state statute. After the Attorney General’s Open Government Unit got involved, the incident report was supplied — it showed that crimes Brochure committed took place at a residence owned by his mother, Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure.

Update: Documents reveal child porn crimes were committed at Oak Island mayor’s address

By this point, a month after Brochure’s re-arrest, the town had ignored a growing number of requests, including formal public records requests that compelled the town, by law, to respond and provide information. The stonewalling seemed to largely center around preventing the release of information that would link Mayor Cin Brochure to her son’s crimes.

Timeline of Oak Island’s attempts to withhold information linking mayor to child-porn charges

In an additional twist, the town reappointed Wilburn Ingram, III, as police chief. Ingram had severed in the early 2000s before retiring and was called back into service after town’s chief and assistant chief both retired. It then came to light that Ingram had been accused of sexual harassment and rape while he was the chief of police in Kinston during the 1990s. Town officials refused to comment.

No comment after Oak Island re-appoints Police Chief named in federal complaint

As the Brochure case headed to trial, the Oak Island detective on the case transferred an became a community resource officer. The detective would ultimately not appear at Brochure’s plea bargain hearing.

Police changes in Brunswick County continue, ranking shifts in Oak Island

This week, Brochure pleaded no contest in a deal that allowed him to be released from custody. The Assistant District Attorney handling the case made several points — including that, during the investigation, Southport Police Department had voiced concerns over the integrity of the investigation.

Plea deal ends child pornography case, Justin Brochure released from custody

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