The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 19, 2012

Ex-officer pleads guilty in case involving porn


news@joplinglobe.com



A former Carl Junction police officer has pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing child pornography.

Seth P. Wilkins, 29, changed his plea to guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court in a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office.

Under terms of the plea deal, the defendant would be assessed no more than five years in prison for the conviction. He had faced up to seven years if convicted on the charge.

Wilkins was charged in 2010 after an internal investigation of alleged improper online chats with an underage girl turned up evidence of child pornography on the officer’s personal computer. A probable-cause affidavit states that Carl Junction police Chief Delmar Haase asked the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force to look into the matter when several suspected video files of child pornography were found on Wilkins’ computer.

The defendant later admitted downloading such videos from the Internet since 2004 using file-sharing software, according to the affidavit.

Circuit Judge David Dally delayed formal action on the plea agreement pending completion of a sentencing-assessment report. The defendant’s sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 28.