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Smiths Station man indicted on more than 60 charges of crimes against children including sexual torture, rape and porn production
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Smiths Station man indicted on more than 60 charges of crimes against children including sexual torture, rape and porn production

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A Lee County grand jury indicted a Smiths Station man on 69 felony counts related to crimes of a sexual nature involving children on Aug. 20.

Brandon Thomas Hart, 32, was arrested and charged Sept. 22, 2020, after Lee County Sheriff’s and FBI investigators executed a search warrant on Lee Road 560 in Smiths Station in reference to possible dissemination of child pornography, according to authorities.

The 69 charges on which Hart has been indicted include eight counts of first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, 19 counts of first-degree sodomy, five counts of sexual torture or abuse, 13 counts of possession of pornography depicting minors, 15 counts of production of porn with minors, two counts of first-degree rape and three counts of first-degree voyeurism, according to court records.

Investigators previously said Hart’s victims appeared to be between 2 years of age and 14 years of age and authorities are withholding specific information to protect the identities of the victims.

Hart was previously being held in the Lee County Jail on a $2.1 million bond. However, following the indictment by the Lee County Grand Jury, there is no opportunity for bond, according to court documents.

An arraignment date for Hart has been set this Friday.

The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there. The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses advice from June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season. The guidance is nonbinding, though, and U.S. travelers should expect a mishmash of rules across the continent. The EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national governments have the authority to decide whether they keep their borders open to U.S. tourists. The EU also removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the safe list. 

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