Former UT fundraiser sentenced to more than 10 years in prison

(WBIR) A judge sentenced a former University of Tennessee fundraiser executive to a little more than 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to child porn charges.

Former UT Foundation executive Bruce Downsbrough, 61, was sentenced in federal court Friday. He must serve a 121 month prison sentence, register as a sex offender and complete treatment. After his release, he will serve a 10-year supervised release under the following conditions: he can't be alone with children, and he can't use the internet without a probation officer's permission.

Last fall, Downsbrough pleaded guilty to knowingly receiving material containing child pornography and knowingly possessing child pornography.

His guilty plea came after officials seized a personal laptop, tablet, external hard drives and other items from his home during a search in November 2012. Investigators said they found 20,000 images and videos of child pornography.

During the sentencing hearing, Downsbrough admitted his guilt and responsibility to the court. He apologized to victims, family and the court but added he would never break the law again. He also paid $5,000 to five identified victims from the images. The court waived the $75,000 fine.

Downsbrough's defense attorney argued for 71 months, which was below the sentencing guidelines. The judge denied that request, but he did grant the defendant's request to serve his prison sentence in Englewood, Colo. Downsbrough's family plans to live in Colorado after he's released from prison.

The university fired Downsbrough after his arrest on campus.

Experts with Knoxville Police Department's "Internet Crimes Against Children" division also testified that the state uncovered past sex abuse charges against Downsbrough. More than 25 years ago, Downsbrough admitted to sexually abusing four boys, but that case was deferred and then dismissed. Police said Downsbrough was also charged with sexual assault in the third degree, but the state does not know the outcome of that case.

MORE: Former UT Foundation exec had past history of child sex abuse

Downsbrough was the executive vice president and chief operating officer at the UT Foundation, which coordinates private donations benefiting UT students and faculty.

He was hired at the UT Foundation in 2003. Records show he had good reviews while serving as the assistant vice president and was promoted to his final positions in 2011.


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