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A local teen is being charged with several felonies after police say he accessed child pornography from his computer.

McGwire Coleman, 18, of Farmington, is being charged with 21 counts of a class B felony of possession of child pornography.

According to a probable cause statement from the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Office, on April 17 at 9 a.m. an officer with the Bonne Terre Police Department was called by the director of UniTec Career Center.

The officer was asked to attend a meeting with him, the North County School District IT Department, the principal and assistant principal from Farmington High School and the computer instructor from UniTec regarding possible illegal activity.

When the officer arrived he was escorted into a conference room and met with everyone, including Coleman. They began questioning Coleman about using his school-assigned computer to remotely access his home computer during class time.

Coleman said he did this to utilize software he identified as Pony Stealer. He said he used this software to steal peoples’ usernames and passwords to their subscriptions sites. He added he then sells the information to other people for them to gain access to the sites.

After the interview the officer placed Coleman under arrest for identity theft and out him in the patrol car. While heading to the St. Francois County Jail Coleman asked the officer if he was going to look at his home computer.

The officer told him he was going to apply for a warrant for the computer. At that time Coleman told the officer there was more that he would find and that there was a folder containing pornography involving a minor. The officer asked how old the minor was and Coleman responded saying she was about 12 years old.

When they arrived at the jail the officer read Coleman his Miranda Rights again and he signed a waiver of those rights. During the interview Coleman told the officer the child pornography had been sent to him without him asking from an unknown person he had been communicating with on the “Darknet.”

Coleman said he had been exploring sites to sell illegal drugs when he came into contact with this unknown person. He said this person sent him files and that he was “disgusted” by them. Coleman said he kept the files, because he wanted to use them against the sender.

The officer asked why he didn’t contact the police when he received the files and Coleman said he did not know. The officer asked if those were the only files of that type on his computer and Coleman said they were.

Coleman provided the officer with his computer’s passwords and told him the location of the files. The officer also asked Coleman if he could take his cellphone and school-issued Chromebook to search their contents as well. Coleman agreed to the officer’s request.

Coleman also signed a consent to search form for his room and he described his home computer as a custom built desktop computer. He also signed a consent to search digital media form for any devices the officer found during his search.

The officer left the jail and went to the courthouse to apply for a search warrant for Coleman’s home. The search warrant was approved and at 4:40 p.m. the officer arrived at Coleman’s home with a St. Francois County Sheriff’s deputy to serve it.

The officer removed Coleman’s computer from the home and took it back to the Bonne Terre Police Department. He performed an initial search of its contents and found the file Coleman has described to him.

There were 15 video files that featured the same young looking female and in one video it states she is 11 years old. There was also a subfolder that contained one video, also featuring the same girl. In addition to the videos Coleman told the officer about, the officer found many more videos and photographs featuring other minor girls.

The officer sent the computer off to be analyzed by digital media experts. The officer also added in his report that he believes Coleman poses a danger to the community or any other person because he continues to have access to internet-enabled devices, as well as a specific set of highly qualified skills that allow him to use the internet to commit illegal acts.

The report also said Coleman’s internet access and skill set, combined with an already-demonstrated willingness to violate the law with regards to these matters demonstrates that he poses a danger to anyone who accesses the internet for otherwise legal purposes.

Coleman is being held in the St. Francois County Jail on a $525,000 bond, with no 10 percent cash bond allowed.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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