Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Federal grand jury indicts Joplin man on child porn charges

(This news release from the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri is about the indictment by a federal grand jury of Frank Ness, Joplin, on child porn charges. The indictment replaces the original charge. You can find more details on the original charge at this link.)

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

Frank Edwin Ness, 44, of Joplin, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Ness on July 17, 2014.

Today’s indictment alleges that Ness received and distributed child pornography over the Internet between Jan. 1, 2004, and July 16, 2014.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Ness’s residence on July 16, 2014, and seized his desktop computer. Investigators found at least 124 videos containing child pornography when they previewed the computer, the affidavit says.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Ness to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offense, including a desktop computer.

Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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