Central Texas doctor pleads guilty to child porn charge

John Middlemiss Palmer. (Texas Attorney General's Office photo)
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Dr. John Middlemiss Palmer, 55, a Temple pediatric pulmonary physician who was arrested earlier this year and charged with possession of child pornography, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Waco to a charge of possession of visual depictions of sexual activities by minors, online court records show.

Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske accepted the plea, but the docket does not show a sentencing date.

State investigators obtained a warrant and searched Palmer’s medical office on April 18 at McLane Children’s Hospital at 1901 SW H K Dodgen Loop in Temple after discovering that child pornography had been uploaded to an online storage account he used, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said after the arrest.

During the search, discovered that the top left drawer of Palmer’s desk was locked.

A hospital locksmith was summoned and after the drawer was unlocked, investigators discovered a laptop computer and three external hard drives, according to a warrant affidavit.

Investigators also found a set of business cards for John Middlemiss Palmer M.D. on top of the digital storage devices, the affidavit said.

They seized the laptop and the hard drives and during a forensic review of one of the drives discovered “numerous images depicting…images of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”

Several other devices were seized from Palmer’s home for examination by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit, Paxton said at the time.

“Palmer denied any involvement with child pornography,” Paxton said.

Palmer was arrested on the same day the warrants were served, but was later released on an unsecured $25,000 bond.

The hospital announced on April 20 that Palmer had been fired.

On April 23, the Texas Medical temporarily suspended Palmer’s medical license “after determining his continuation in the practice of medicine poses a continuing threat to the public.”