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Former pediatric oncologist ordered to federal prison due to child-porn charges

HOUSTON – A former pediatric oncologist at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has been ordered to federal prison after being convicted of multiple child-pornography charges, police said.

Dennis Patrick Meehan Hughes, 50, of Pearland, pleaded guilty March 22 to the receipt, access with intent to view and possession of child-pornography charges.

At the time of his arrest in June 2015, Hughes worked at M.D. Anderson, but he is no longer employed there.

Hughes was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison on each count of conviction, police said. The sentences will run concurrently.

Hughes must register as a sex offender and was further ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release after completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. The court also imposed a $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims Trafficking Act of 2015.

This case was initiated due to a nationwide investigation that targeted users of a child pornography website, police revealed.

After the February 2015 arrest of the primary site administrator, law enforcement was able to identify more than 1,000 U.S.-based user IP addresses, according to police.

One of those addresses was linked back to the residence of Hughes, investigators said.

Law enforcement executed a federal search warrant at his residence on June 5, 2015, at which time they arrested Hughes and seized his computers and other items.

Hughes admitted he received and possessed numerous images of child pornography, to include prepubescent girls with their genitals lasciviously displayed, police said. Some of the images also depicted young girls being penetrated, both orally and vaginally, investigators said. The government also offered evidence that images of child pornography were found on his work computer, as well.

In total, law enforcement discovered 329 videos and 2,693 unique images attributable to Hughes, according to court documents.

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