MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis businessman Gregory Dolphin pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possession of child pornography, but is not expected to spend any time in prison due to his debilitating dementia. The plea and sentencing agreement was announced Tuesday by Hennepin County Mike Freeman.
Dolphin’s attorney produced records that his client suffers from frontotemporal dementia, also known as frontal lobe dementia. Because it attacks the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, patients can experience extreme changes in behavior including inappropriate actions, lack of judgment and inhibition and repetitive compulsive behavior. Frontotemporal dementia tends to be diagnosed in people in their 40s and 50s and worsen over time, eventually requiring 24-hour care.
“We believe this is a just outcome that protects the public but acknowledges a tragic turn in Mr. Dolphin’s health which may have caused his actions,” Freeman said in a statement. “This agreement allows him to eventually only have a misdemeanor on his record while allowing his caregivers to make sure he is not downloading child pornography and hurting the victims of that disgusting crime.”
Dolphin, 63, is the retired CEO of Dolphin Fast Food.
Gregory Dolphin will be sentenced Jan. 16 and is expected to receive a stay of imposition for five years. The stay means that if he follows all of the conditions of his probation, including computer activity monitoring, the felony will be reduced to a misdemeanor. Dolphin is expected to be sentenced to 365 days of electronic home monitoring and must register as a predatory offender.
The investigation of this case dates back to May 2016. According to the criminal complaint, Minneapolis police obtained search warrants on Dolphin’s media devices at his home and his office after receiving cyber tips from social media companies. Social media companies are required to contact law enforcement if they discover their programs are being used to acquire or distribute child pornography.
Investigators searched Dolphin’s computer, thumb drives and cell phone. A video on a thumb drive showed a young girl being sexually abused, and there were several video and image titles on the same drive with titles referencing pedophilia and other search terms related to child pornography.
The Dolphin family said in a statement that Gregory Dolphin was diagnosed in June 2016 with a brain disease "that can result in changes in personality, impaired judgment and impulsive behaviors." According to the statement, Dolphin is now under 24-hour care and his brother and sister are now his legal guardians.
"As was noted back in March, the Dolphin family was shocked and saddened by the allegations involving his behavior," said the statement in part. "Greg has expressed regret and remorse for his actions, understanding he now requires constant care."