The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 2, 2012

Affidavits: Visits to sex offenders catch them with child pornography

JOPLIN, Mo. — Officers conducting a compliance check on registered sex offenders caught two Joplin men separately in the act of downloading child pornography at their respective addresses, according to complaints filed Wednesday in federal court.

Brandy A. Hertl, 30, and David W. Morgan, 55, were taken into custody during the compliance check conducted Tuesday in the Joplin area by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Hertl and Morgan were charged Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield with receiving child pornography over the Internet. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri said in a news release that both defendants remained in federal custody pending detention hearings set for Friday.

A probable-cause affidavit written by Ed Bailey, an officer with the Department of Homeland Security assigned to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, states that in the course of the compliance check Tuesday morning, a sheriff’s deputy noticed a man matching Hertl’s description in the front seat of a van parked near his registered address at 1223 W. Ninth St.

When the deputy made contact with Hertl, confirmed his identity and asked what he was doing, the man “spontaneously admitted that he had been downloading child pornography files on his computer,” Bailey wrote in the affidavit.

Bailey was contacted by deputies at that point and arrived at the address to question Hertl after reading him his rights, the affidavit states. Hertl reportedly told Bailey that he had been living in the van outside his sister’s home and using her wireless Internet connection to download files. He reportedly told Bailey that he was in the process of downloading seven child porn videos when the deputy walked up to him.

Authorities said Hertl consented to letting the investigator look at his laptop computer, thumb drives, an electronic tablet and a cellphone. In an initial preview of the computer, Bailey reportedly found two child porn videos in a recycle bin and six other images of nude children.

A separate affidavit filed by Bailey with respect to the charge against Morgan states that Bailey was called to 622 S. Porter Ave. later in the day. Morgan let two deputies, who went to his residence to check on his compliance, into his house, but he seemed nervous and began disconnecting storage drives and closing his laptop computer, authorities said.

According to the affidavit, the deputies obtained consent from Morgan to search the laptop, and Bailey was called to the address. When several files of alleged child pornography were discovered on the computer, Morgan was arrested.

Convictions

Brady Hertl was convicted of indecent liberties with a 3-year-old girl in 2009, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri. David Morgan was convicted of statutory sodomy with a 3-year-old girl in 1997, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

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