The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 26, 2010

Child pornography on home computer prompts prison term

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin man, whose roommate turned him in to police after a teenager spotted child pornography on his home computer, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.

Joshua T. Speraneo, 26, pleaded guilty Feb. 1 in Jasper County Circuit Court to a Class B felony count of possession of child pornography, a conviction that carries a possible sentencing range of five to 15 years. Speraneo changed his plea to guilty under terms of an agreement with the county prosecutor’s office that limited the prison time he might be assessed to no more than seven years.

Circuit Judge David Dally assessed Speraneo five years at his sentencing hearing Monday.

The Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force initiated an investigation on May 16 of last year when the defendant’s roommate informed Joplin police that Speraneo had images of child pornography on his home computer, according to a police report and a probable-cause affidavit. The roommate told police that a 16-year-old was downloading music from the desktop computer and discovered the illegal material.

Officers with the task force went to Speraneo’s home at 1631 S. Rex Ave., and seized laptop and desktop computers. A forensic examination of the computers turned up more than 20 images of child porn and a video file, including images of children engaged in sex acts.

Speraneo was interviewed by detectives on May 18, 2009, and admitted to downloading the material off the Internet using file-sharing software, according to the probable-cause affidavit. Police do not believe any local children were used in the production of the material.

Levels of offense

Possession of child pornography in Missouri carries from five to 15 years in prison for 20 or more images, or more than one film or video. Lesser amounts of material can carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

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