Monday, February 24, 2014

MSSU theater stagehand facing child porn charges: I was afraid of what I might do to the children

A paid stagehand in the Missouri Southern State University Theater Department is being held without bond as he awaits trial on child pornography charges.

David Michel McCowen, 25, Joplin, told investigators that during the many times when children were at the theater for various productions, "he would never allow himself to be alone with them for fear of what he might do to the children."

An affidavit filed by  Brad Bearden of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force indicates McCowan was receiving child pornography through a computer at his home.

According to the affidavit, McCowan downloading child pornography at the very moment authorities executed a search warrant at the home he shared with his sister and her daughter.

McCowan admitted to downloading child pornography and told the investigators "his preferred age range of child pornography was between eight and thirteen (8-13) years old. He stated he liked long brunette hair on the female children, but really didn't care about skin color. The Affiant asked 
McCowan if he had downloaded any child pornography containing toddlers and McCowan stated he had,The Affiant asked but had deleted them after viewing the toddler child pornography."

McCowan also told investigators he had "received a less than honorable discharge" from the U. S. Army after deserting and was sexually attracted to a friend of his niece's, a student at North Middle School.

In his ruling to detain McCowan without bond, Judge David P. Rush wrote, "The evidence at the hearing established that the weight of the evidence against the defendant is overwhelming. Regarding the potential for failure to appear, the court notes that the defendant has substance abuse history, history of military desertion and recent suicidal thoughts.
"Regarding potential danger to the community, the Court notes the nature of the instant offense, defendant’s history/charge involving a child, history/charge involving use of a computer to facilitate the alleged offense, history/charge involving sex offense/abuse, safety concerns for the community or specific individual, recent suicidal thoughts and the defendant’s mental health and substance abuse history. 

"Based on all the foregoing, the Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is a risk of flight, and finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is a danger to the community.
"It is therefore ordered that the defendant be, and is hereby detained without bail."

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