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Columbia man suspected of sexual misconduct, possessing child pornography

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | 1:24 p.m. CST; updated 1:31 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 24, 2013

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man was arrested Monday on suspicion of using the Internet to exchange nude pictures with a 13-year-old girl and meet her for sex.

Christopher A. Snell, 24, of Columbia, is accused of exchanging sexually graphic pictures with the victim in November after he met her over an Internet chat, according to a Boone County Sheriff's Department Cyber Crimes Task Force news release. The suspect allegedly convinced her to sneak out of her home twice late at night to engage in sexual acts.

The Cyber Crimes Task Force was carrying out an unrelated investigation that led police to suspect that Snell had carried out sexually explicit conversations with the underage victim, Andy Anderson, task force coordinator, said.

On Thursday, investigators executed a search warrant and seized Snell's cellphone, which they say contained sexually explicit photos of the 13-year-old victim, according to the release. Later that day, investigators also seized Snell's computer.

The computer, its files and the contents of the phone are still being looked at, Anderson said.

Snell was arrested on suspicion of enticement of a child, sexual misconduct with a minor and possession of child pornography.

Anderson indicated that a preliminary investigation of the computer and cellphone indicated that Snell had contacted multiple underage girls, according to court records.

Snell disclosed in an interview that he'd had sexual contact with other minors that he met online. The Cyber Crime Task Force is in the process of identifying any other potential victims, Anderson said.

Snell was arrested by Boone County Sheriff's Department in 2009 on suspicion of first-degree statutory rape after he allegedly impregnated a 13-year-old girl, according to Columbia Daily Tribune reports from the time of that arrest.

He pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in 2010 and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation, according to online court records.

Law enforcement asks that anyone with information about the suspect or possible victims to contact the task force at 442-4313.


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