Pulaski County resident facing seven felony child pornography charges
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:41 pm
Benjamin Morrow faces seven felony child pornography charges.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Jan. 28, 2010) — Photography of a mother having sex with her pre-teen daughter. Children tied or in handcuffs. Oral and anal sodomy involving children, vibrators, and candles. A nine-year-old girl tied up with straps, rope, and a collar waiting for a dog to sexually penetrate her.
Those were just a few of the images in six movies and 26 photographs Pulaski County deputies say they found on three computers of a man they arrested Thursday after Pulaski County Prosecutor Deborah Hooper approved a seven-count felony warrant for child pornography, following an investigation that began last month.
According to court documents, Benjamin Morrow, 42, who lives in a subdivision outside St. Robert, was arraigned Thursday morning before Associate Circuit Judge Colin Long and is being held in the Pulaski County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 cash-only bond. Morrow pleaded innocent to seven separate Class B felony charges accusing him of knowingly or recklessly possessing obscene material involving sexual conduct of minors under 18 years old. Each of the seven charges could lead to him spending five to 15 years in state prison.
Investigators say in court documents that Morrow not only possessed pornographic images depicting children in sexual acts but also “made them available to others to download via the internet.”
The investigation began in mid-December when police in the northern Missouri city of Independence working with the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force traced a person trading child exploitation files to an address in Pulaski County. Within a week, Pulaski County deputies searched Morrow’s home, took his computers, and obtained an admission from Morrow that they would find child pornography on his computers.
“Morrow told us that he (had) been downloading child pornography for ‘quite a while,’” according to court documents filed by investigators with the court. “He stated that he would start feeling guilty and delete it, then he would start looking for it again … He told me his interest was in girls 9-12 years old.”
While the probable cause statement filed with the court cites only six movies and 26 photographs, court documents say investigators found 871 files “of obvious, known or likely child exploitation” and noted that “at least 20 of the images are of very young children, obviously less than 5 years of age.”
Creation dates for the pornography date back to 2005, according to court records, with movies “primarily of pubescent and pre-pubescent children engaged in sex acts with adults or other children” and “at least two of the movies involved children observably less than 5 years of age.”
Morrow’s next court date is Feb. 9 when he will be required to appear in Long’s courtroom for an advice of counsel hearing. Further court action will wait until Morrow either hires his own lawyer or has a court-appointed attorney assigned to him.