Columbia man pleads guilty in child pornography case

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | 12:17 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A 29-year-old man accused of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography pleaded guilty Tuesday in Boone County Court.

Patrick Jesse Drury faces 15 to 45 years in prison on both felony counts with the possibility of life imprisonment. Sexual exploitation of a minor is classified as a Class A felony in Missouri.

Drury has a hearing in May to determine the date of his sentencing.

On June 13, Drury was arrested after an investigation by the Boone County's Cyber Crimes Task Force turned up more than 300 pornographic photographs of children, including infants and toddlers.

Some of the photographs depicted sexual acts between adults and children, while others were pictures of girls' genitals, Assistant Prosecutor Merilee Crockett told Judge Gary Oxenhandler during Tuesday's hearing.

Probable cause statements indicate Drury kept the photographs on an electronic device that was password protected.

At the time of his arrest, he was in Boone County Jail on an unrelated charge of stealing $25,000 or more. He faces an additional five to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty in that case.

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