PINEVILLE, Mo. — A Pineville man waived a preliminary hearing Monday on child molestation charges and was ordered bound over for trial.

Ryan D. Crawford, 32, waived the hearing in McDonald County Circuit Court on five counts of first-degree child molestation and a single count of sexual misconduct with a child. Associate Judge John LePage set Crawford's initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Feb. 26.

The defendant was arrested on the charges in December following an investigation by Pineville police and the McDonald County Sheriff's Department of a report that he had illicit photographs of a minor on his cellphone.

A probable-cause affidavit states that Crawford had told of having "had a porn problem" and that he had been "watching" porn on his cellphone. The McDonald County prosecutor later indicated in a news release that an unspecified number of suspected child victims were interviewed at the Children's Center in Joplin before an interview of the defendant in December when he allegedly admitted having touched a child younger than 14 inappropriately while she was sleeping.

The affidavit states that the defendant further acknowledged that his addiction to pornography and related misconduct with children had been "going on for a long time."

Crawford initially was charged with single counts of child molestation and sexual misconduct. Four additional counts of molestation were filed as investigators uncovered more allegations in the case.

Trending Video

Jeff Lehr is an award-winning reporter for The Joplin Globe who covers the courts and crime beat. He can be reached at jlehr@joplinglobe.com.