Friday, May 22, 2015

Joplin man to plead guilty on child pornography charges

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 28, in U. S. District Court in Springfield for Frank Ness, Joplin.

Ness was arrested following the execution of a search warrant at his home at 1421 S. Cleveland July 16.

As a member of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force carried Ness' computer out of the home, Ness' wife gave the officer the thumbs up.

"You got him," she said. "Everything you're looking for is going to be on that computer."

The search warrant was executed following a tip to the task force that child pornography was being sent to a computer with an IP address that was being used at that house

Mrs. Ness told officers her husband's computer was password-protected, but he has left it on a couple of times and that "she had seen child pornography on that computer," according to an affidavit filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Ness' wife said she had argued with her husband about it and had thrown on the computer on the floor and thought she had broken it. "She said Ness told her he had thrown the computer away."

Her recent discovery of her husband using his computer for unsavory purposes was not the first time she had caught him in the act. "She said she first caught him looking at child pornography shortly after they married, about eight years ago. She said she had caught him looking at it, but he had promised that he would quit looking at it."

Not quite trusting her husband, Mrs. Ness said "she would never allow her grandchildren to be alone with her husband since she had seen the pictures on his computer and didn't trust that he would never molest them."

Task Force officers found 124 videos containing child pornography on Ness' computer, according to the affidavit. All were hidden in a folder.

Ness waived his Miranda rights and talked with Task Force officers at the Joplin Police Department. He said he had been looking at child pornography for approximately 10 years and said he had sent child porn to others and that he had received child porn from others. He disguised his identity by using female names such as "Heather Todd," "Caroline Barns," and "Mandy Wicks," he said. Officers had come across the Barns and Wicks names during their investigation.

As the search warrant was being executed, Ness' stepson told officers he and his mother did not want Ness back because there were children all around the house because of all of the excitement.

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