Man from Sturgeon pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | 4:21 p.m. CDT; updated 6:32 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 22, 2013

COLUMBIA — A Sturgeon man pleaded guilty Monday to possessing child pornography and failing to register as a convicted sexual offender.

Karl Emory Ball, 42, was arrested in June after a report from Microsoft alerted the Boone County Sheriff's Department's Cyber Crimes Task Force in May that child pornography was uploaded to its servers from mid-Missouri. 

Federal law requires Internet service providers, like Microsoft, to file a report should they suspect a crime against a child, Task Force Coordinator Detective Andy Anderson said. That information is often pooled at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where it can be filtered down to agencies like Anderson's.

Investigators executed a court-ordered search warrant at a residence in Sturgeon and found more than 1,200 photographs of child pornography and about 20 videos of children engaged in sexual conduct at the residence, according to a news release from the task force.

The investigation at the residence led to Ball's arrest.

Ball was initially charged with promoting child pornography in addition to possession and failure to register as a sex offender. Per his plea agreement, Ball's final charge will be dismissed after sentencing, defense attorney Kevin O'Brien said.

In 1990, Ball was convicted for sexual offenses against a minor in Oklahoma, according to the report. He failed to register as a sexual offender when he moved to Boone County after his release from prison.

Final sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25, 2013.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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