Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Federal grand jury indicts four Jasper County residents on child pornography charges

A federal grand jury today indicted four Jasper County residents on child pornography charges.

Court records indicate indictments were handed down against Casey Robert Caudle, 33, Joplin,(pictured) Brian G. Long, 38, Oronogo, Aaron Sean Fletcher, 31, and Martin Vern Ellis, 26, Carl Junction.

The indictments allege Long was receiving and distributing child pornography from at least June 5 through August 31, Caudle from August 19, 2015, to June 22, 2016, Fletcher from September 11 through October 24 and Ellis from April 24, 2015, through October 17, 2016.

Court records did not provide any details about the offenses allegedly committed by Long, Caudle, and Fletcher, but Ellis was arrested earlier this year for the same offense, an arrest that is superceded by the indictment.

A detention motion filed October 24 by Assistant U. S. Attorney James Kelleher explained why Kelleher thought Ellis should remain behind bars:

The defendant was a highly sophisticated consumer and distributor of child pornography. 

The defendant was the subject of at least three separate child pornography investigations.

There is evidence to indicate that the defendant was actively trading child pornography with other users. 

The defendant possessed large collections of children being subjected to extreme acts of sexual violence. 

The defendant confessed to receiving and distributing child pornography. 

This case involves a minor victim.

In his probable cause affidavit, Joplin Police Department officer Charles Root, working for the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, wrote that Ellis admitted to viewing child pornography during the initial interview with authorities at his home:

Ellis admitted to searching for and viewing child pornography beginning when he was 18 years old. He indicated that his preference is for seven-year-old females.

Ellis told officers about the types of file sharing software he used and said he did not know when the last time he looked at child porn was, but "it might have been last week."

When he was asked what types of child pornography would be found on his computer, Ellis provided complete details:

Ellis responded that his computer contained sexually explicit imagery of children, some as young as infants, engaging in sex acts with other children, as well as with both adult males and females. Ellis also acknowledged that he possessed images of children engaged in sadomasochistic acts.

When the officers examined the computers, they found pictures of children "tied to beds and chairs while being sexually abused," according to the affidavit.

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