NEW ALBANY — A New Albany pilot arrested in January for child exploitation faces a new charge after police say he threatened a witness in his case.
Robert W. Brown Jr., 47, was arrested January 17 at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, 11 days after police executed a search warrant at his home on Linda Drive in New Albany. He was initially charged with two level 4 felonies for child exploitation after investigators say they found more than 1,000 sexual images and videos of children of all ages on devices belonging to him.
Prosecutors filed three additional charges March 17, all level 4 felonies for child exploitation, after reporting finding more than 1,600 additional images and videos on Brown’s devices. Police have said the charges may involve at least one local victim and that some of the images may have been created by Brown, but most were from the internet.
Brown is now facing a level 5 felony for obstruction of justice in a new case filed Thursday in Floyd County.
Court records show Brown first came under investigation Jan. 6 after his girlfriend at the time reported to police that she had found multiple images and videos of children under 18 either nude or being sexually abused, some she identified as children known to Brown.
From the date of his arrest to March 12, police say he made 250 calls to a family member of his ex-girlfriend which, due to his being incarcerated, were monitored. In these calls, police say he talked to the family member about how if his ex-girlfriend would marry him, she wouldn’t have to testify against him. He also later asked the family member of his ex was a “friend or foe” to him, and if she was going to be adversarial to him in this case.
He said that if she is a friend, “they would not cross-examine her during the trial” and said that “things will get ugly,” according to court records.
On March 13, a friend of the witness told police about the phone calls and that Brown had been trying to blackmail the witness by threatening to bring up personal information in court. Several days later, investigators spoke with the family member Brown had been communicating with from jail.
The person said Brown had become “mean and demanding” after his attempts to get his ex to marry him during the case were unsuccessful. His ex told police she felt intimidated by what she felt was blackmail.
An initial hearing is not yet set in this case. For the first case filed in January, Brown has an early trial set for May 4. A motion for emergency release was filed Wednesday, which was denied. Both cases are in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1.