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Child porn and sex crimes cases go before judges

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Four men had court appearances Monday for cases involving child pornography or sex crimes against children.

All four cases were the result of investigations by the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force, a 2-year-old unit made up of two officers from the Columbia Police Department, two deputies from the Boone County Sheriff's Department and one officer from the MU Police Department.

In one case, Trevor S. Dunn, 22, was sentenced to four years in prison for possession of child pornography.

Surrounded by what Dunn's attorney, Kay Evans, called a large and supportive family, he was sentenced by Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler. When Oxenhandler handed down the sentence, he said the case was not just "about our community" but was also "concerned with the world," because the programs that Dunn was using allowed people on the Internet everywhere to access the pornography.

Dunn's family reacted with gasps and tears to the sentence.

Evans had argued for probation for her client because she said he had shown remorse, owned up to what he had done and had a supportive family. Evans also pointed out that doctors who had evaluated Dunn said he was not a threat or a pedophile.

But Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Merilee Crockett painted another picture of Dunn, arguing that he was aware of the "danger" of child pornography. She told Oxenhandler that even after the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force seized his computer in the investigation, which yielded more than 400 videos of child pornography that had been watched, he showed no remorse until after he was caught.

She said that after the investigation began in February 2008 and his computer was seized, Dunn obtained another computer and continued to watch child pornography. He was arrested on Nov. 11, 2008.

Oxenhandler concluded his sentencing by telling Dunn that the punishment wasn't "a slap in the face of the family," but it was because "after being caught he went back and did it again."

Dunn will be admitted into the sex offender assessment unit in prison where he will be observed. After 120 days, Oxenhandler can choose to release him. But, the judge warned, "if I perceive that you are still a threat, you won't come out."

Also on Monday, Eric Joseph Hall, 23, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and not guilty to a charge of promotion of child pornography, for which he could receive a sentence from five to 15 years in prison.

Crockett recommended that Hall not be sentenced to probation but serve seven years in prison. Hall's attorney, Gregory Robinson of Fayette, asked Circuit Judge Jodie Asel to consider probation for his client.

Hall's next sentencing hearing is Sept. 16. The charges stem from a period between April and November 2008, when investigators discovered child pornography on peer-to-peer file-sharing programs and traced some of the material to Hall's Internet Protocol address.

On Nov. 6, 2008, investigators obtained Hall's computer through a court-ordered search warrant. While being questioned by investigators, Hall admitted that he had intentionally downloaded child pornography. On Hall's hard drive, investigators found more than 80 videos and more than 100 photographs depicting the sexual molestation of children.

In another case that came before Oxenhandler on Monday, Jeremy Albert Breedlove applied for permission to use a Macintosh computer to complete a college course. Breedlove pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced to five years supervised probation in January 2009. He was issued a computer by the court that has security software preventing him from accessing pornography.

Breedlove's attorney, Timothy Gerding, argued that Breedlove needed a new computer for a course in graphic design and that Breedlove's mother had already purchased the necessary software to prevent him from accessing inappropriate materials. Gerding said Breedlove's mother was prepared for the burden of supervising his activities on the computer.

Crockett argued against the request because computers were used in Breedlove's initial crime. The use of a computer to complete high school was necessary she argued but not for an optional course in graphic design.

Oxenhandler ruled against the request.

The court granted a continuance in the case of Daniel Mauchenheimer, 42, who was charged with attempted sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. 

Crockett said the prosecutor's office learned Friday of another charge against Mauchenheimer in St. Clair County, where he has been charged with enticement of a child under age 15. A warrant for Mauchenheimer's arrest was issued that day.

Crockett said the incident in St. Clair County occurred around October 2008, which is about the same time of the incident that occurred in Boone County in which the prosecutor's office is bringing charges.

According to court documents related to that incident, Mauchenheimer made contact with a member of the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force posing as a 14-year-old girl. Over the course of conversations over six days, Mauchenheimer  engaged in sexually graphic conversations with the decoy and exposed his genitalia to the decoy using a Web camera, according to the probable cause statement.

The defense asked for a continuance in order to learn more about the St. Clair County charge against Mauchenheimer, who lives in St. Louis.


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