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Child porn charges dropped against veteran Miami-Dade sergeant

James Edwards still faces other charges; expected to go to trial in January

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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Possession of child pornography charges have been dropped against a veteran Miami-Dade police sergeant, who was accused of masturbating in front of two teenage boys.

James Edwards, a 27-year veteran officer, was arrested in February on 12 counts of possessing child pornography while he was on house arrest in an open case from August 2014.

According to documents, Edwards was first arrested after he brought two teenage brothers to his home to do some landscaping.

Authorities said he admitted to giving the teens marijuana, the drug "Molly" and then began touching himself and masturbating in front of the minors.

After that arrest, detectives began examining his electronic devices.

Several hard drives and computers were removed from the home and authorities said explicit images and videos of underage boys engaging in sexual acts were uncovered during the investigation.

The images and videos were sent to a doctor, who confirmed that the boys were underage.

It wasn't immediately known why prosecutors dropped the child porn charges against Edwards, and the cop's attorney, Michael Catalano, said he wasn't told the reason either.

However, Catalano said it's clear that prosecutors had insufficient evidence in the case and claims that it's unclear whether the people in at least two of the three pornographic videos were under the age of 18.

"There is overwhelming evidence that defendant Edwards possessed multiple images of child pornography," Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith later said in a statement. "However, the SAO has dismissed that case for now, in order to focus all attention on the even more serious charges of child molestation. The victims in those cases need closure so they can move on with their lives. The child pornography case can always be refiled in the future."

Edwards still faces numerous other charges, including drug possession, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, lewd and lascivious conduct and showing obscene material to minors.

He is scheduled to go to trial in January.

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