A Madison County man faces charges this week stemming from a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) investigation and subsequent seizure of child pornography from his home.
On Thursday, the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office formally charged Joseph Allen Morgan, 46, of Fredericktown, with three counts of possession of child pornography.
The criminal charges resulted from an investigation by members of the MSHP Division of Drug and Crime Control’s Digital Forensics Investigative Unit and the Missouri Digital Forensic Center.
According to a probable cause statement, the investigation began Nov. 20, when Microsoft reported an image they believed to be child pornography which had been uploaded to their computer network on SkypeVideo. The lead was sent to the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the MSHP and the State Technical Assistance Team to investigate.
Through the legal process, records were obtained from Charter Communications, the internet service provider for the IP address, indicating it was being used at a residence on Baker Street in Fredericktown.
According to the MSHP, investigators executed a search warrant at Morgan’s residence in Fredericktown on Wednesday. The man had reportedly been living in a portable shed between two Baker Street addresses.
The report states Morgan consented to an analysis of his electronic devices, and they were searched.
Files from a Kindle Fire reportedly led investigators to a SanDisk thumb drive USB storage device containing about 70 files of child pornography, according to the statement.
Morgan was arrested and transported to the Madison County Jail, where he remains in custody with a bond of $250,000.
The man was formally arraigned on the charges and pleaded not guilty to the three counts in Madison County Friday morning.
A search of Morgan’s criminal history showed he is also facing an unrelated, pending charge of misdemeanor sexual misconduct in St. Francois County.
That case was filed in early 2020 following a reported incident in which Morgan allegedly exposed himself to a person in the Desloge Walmart parking lot.
Records indicate Morgan has been convicted in the past of similar offenses, including furnishing pornographic materials to a minor and five separate counts of sexual misconduct.
The Division of Drug and Crime Control stated in a press release the agency encourages internet users to promptly report to the patrol or local law enforcement anyone who attempts to engage in unwanted, inappropriate or sexualized communications with children.
The Digital Forensics Investigative Unit is partially funded by the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Missouri Digital Forensic Center is a joint effort of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri Department of Social Services, and the Missouri National Guard Counter Drug Program and is coordinated by the MSHP.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com