Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Carl Junction man pleads guilty to child porn charge
A Carl Junction, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.
Steven Ray Cottle, Jr., 35, of Carl Junction, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.
Law enforcement agents were conducting an undercover investigation in December 2013 and identified Cottle’s computer as receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet through a peer-to-peer file-sharing program. When agents executed a search warrant at his residence on Feb. 13, 2014, Cottle attempted to hide his laptop computer and two thumb drives by placing them above the ceiling tiles in his bedroom before he came downstairs to talk to law enforcement officers. Investigators discovered images and videos of child pornography on the laptop and thumb drives.
Under federal statutes, Cottle is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).