The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

March 3, 2014

Rented TV’s memory source of child pornography charges

CASSVILLE, Mo. — A Cassville man was charged Monday in federal court with receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet following the discovery of illicit pictures on a rented television.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri filed a criminal complaint on Matthew Casas, 25, in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Casas became the subject of an investigation by the Cassville and Monett police departments and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force after a customer who rented a television from a business in Monett reported finding child pornography stored in the set’s memory.

Police confirmed the existence of images in the television’s memory of an adult male performing sexual acts on a girl believed to be no older than 18 months, the U.S. attorney’s office said. The photographs appeared to have been created with a digital camera and did not appear to have been downloaded from the Internet.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received numerous tips in February that someone had been posting images of child pornography to online social media accounts, including some of the images found in the television set’s memory.

Investigators allegedly traced the postings to a computer at Casas’ residence in Cassville. A search warrant was served at the home on Friday, and Casas was arrested.

The suspect made an initial appearance in federal court on Monday and remains in custody pending preliminary and detention hearings set for Wednesday.

Illicit mix

Investigators say most of the child pornography retrieved from the memory of a rented television are images known to be commercially available and traded on the Internet. But at least one set of pictures involving a child 18 months old or younger is believed to have been produced locally, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield.

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