2 Brazos County men in federal court on unrelated child pornography charges

Both men appeared in court Thursday morning
KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:07 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:57 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HOUSTON, Texas (KBTX) - Thursday a federal judge ordered two Brazos County men to be confined to area residences, in connection to unrelated child pornography charges.

Clinton Harnden from College Station appeared in a Houston Federal Courtroom Thursday morning. He is facing charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Harnden was arrested by the FBI at his home in College Station on Nov. 11.

Unable to return home to await his trial, Harnden was ordered to stay at the home of a relative who also lives in College Station under some strict conditions. He will be required to wear an ankle monitor, maintain restrictions on travel, have no contact with any minors under the age of 18, and remain off the internet other than for work.

Harnden maintaining employment is a condition of his release.

During the court appearance, Harnden’s lawyer discussed his employment with Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, saying arrangements were made to allow Harnden to work from home and use vacation time while in custody. Sources at Texas A&M said as of Friday, Harnden had been utilizing vacation time since his arrest and had not been working remotely.

When Harnden’s release conditions were published by the court Thursday afternoon, KBTX reached out to Texas A&M by email for clarification.

“Texas A&M can’t comment on a pending criminal case, but I can tell you that none of the allegations involved his place of employment in any way,” said Kelly Brown, Texas A&M Associate Vice President of Marketing & Communications.

In the same courtroom, Thursday was 33-year-old Matthew Johnson.

Johnson was arrested by the FBI at his home in Bryan on Monday on 14 charges of production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. The bureau said these charges stem from California, where Johnson illegally recorded over 60 children while they used a school bathroom.

At the time, Johnson was a counselor at the religious school, located in California. During the court hearing Thursday, a judge ruled Johnson will have similar restrictions on travel and internet access as Harnden. Johnson will be returning to his home for confinement and have no contact with minors under the age of 18.

While Johnson was originally arrested in California in March 2020, the agent in charge of the case told the court these charges never moved forward because they didn’t get filed. In March 2023, a California grand jury indicted Johnson on the charges leading to his Monday arrest.

During the court hearing, the Bureau said they believed Johnson moved from California to Texas sometime in 2021 or 2022, citing widespread news coverage of the case.