Investigation Leads To Arrest Of Newport Couple On Child Pornography Charges

A lengthy investigation into a Newport man and his wife led to several charges in Jackson County. According to a probable cause affidavit, Arkansas State Police reports that they were investigating a report made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in June that stemmed from a complaint made by Discord Inc. in December of 2019, after files containing child sexual exploitation material were allegedly uploaded to a Gmail account linked to Thomas Brannon Jr. of Newport.
In June investigators interviewed Brannon when he admitted to watching a video of a girl believed to be 9 years old. Brannon also told investigators that he had been watching child porn for about a year.
Investigators stated that on July 3, they spoke to a 7-year-old boy who said Brannon performed oral sex on him and allegedly made the boy perform oral sex on a young girl. A 4-year-old girl also told investigators that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Brannon as well.
ASP investigators interviewed Thomas’ wife, identified as Heather Brannon, concerning the alleged sexual assault in Newport. Heather Brannon told investigators she didn’t have sexually explicit photographs on her phone but a search of the phone turned up images. Heather Brannon also stated to investigators that her husband would sleep in the nude and be around the victims while being nude. Brannon stated that she was responsible to some degree for not stopping her husband according the affidavit. She also stated that the victims were exposed to her sex toys and she had to take them away from the victims numerous times.

Heather Brannon is charged with 4 counts of permitting abuse of a minor along with 4 counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. Thomas Brannon Jr. is charged with 4 counts of rape, 4 counts of sexual indecency of a minor, pandering or possession visual or print medium depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, endangering the welfare of a minor, and 4 counts of producing, directing or promoting sexual performance by a child.

Judge Harold Erwin gave Thomas a $200,000 cash bond and Heather a $100,000 cash bond.