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St. Francois County man pleads guilty to possession of child pornography
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St. Francois County man pleads guilty to possession of child pornography

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According to a news release issued Friday by the Eastern Missouri District of the U.S. Department of Justice, Tyson Rutledge, 48, of Bonne Terre, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. Rutledge appeared Friday before United States District Court Judge Audrey G. Fleissig.

On July 22, 2019, according to the release, Rutledge sent a message to an undercover FBI agent participating in a social media chat room. Rutledge and the undercover FBI agent began to talk about children. Rutledge asked the undercover FBI agent if the undercover FBI agent had sex with kids. Rutledge said he likes “young” and has “no limits.” Rutledge sent the undercover FBI agent a graphic image showing a minor female and her genitals.

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The release states that FBI agents, after securing a federal search warrant, searched Rutledge’s home on Jan. 15, 2020. Agents seized a laptop, three iPhones, a DVD, a CD, a HTC cell phone and iPod. During the search, Rutledge was not home, but an FBI agent spoke with him by cellphone and he agreed to meet at Rutledge’s place of employment later in the morning. Rutledge met with agents and went to the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department and participated in a recorded interview.

Agents, after examining the seized laptop and phones, discovered child pornography images. Agents also discovered histories for downloads, web searches, website visits and chats concerning the sexual exploitation of children.

Judge Fleissig has set sentencing for Aug. 6, 2021, at 10 a.m.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Rob Livergood is handling the case.

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