*CORRECTION: Scott May was not charged with producing child pornography. He was charged with promoting and possessing it. An earlier version of this article misstated the charges.
COLUMBIA — A Columbia man was arrested Thursday after a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper discovered he had been downloading pornographic images of children, authorities said.
Scott May, 57, was charged with first-degree promoting child pornography and felony possession of child pornography, according to an online arrest report. A Missouri State Highway Patroltrooper found on May's computer a video and 30 images of girls between the ages of 12 and 15 performing sexual acts, according to court documents.
The investigation began May 24 when the trooper conducted an online investigation. He found that an IP address was making hundreds of files available to other computers, including one sexually explicit image of a young girl, according to the documents. The trooper traced the IP account information from service provider Mediacom back to May.
A warrant was served Thursday afternoon at May's residence in the 2300 block of Winchester Drive. May admitted to the trooper that he downloaded images and videos of young girls and deleted them after viewing, according to court documents. He claimed to do this three or four times a week, including the night before his arrest.
He also admitted to using torrents to download the files, but said sharing the files was not his intention, according to the documents.
May was a contributing columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune for more than 25 years, according to the newspaper.
The Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's Office filed charges against him May 24, according to the statement, and he was arrested Thursday. He was being held at the Boone County Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond as of Friday afternoon.
Supervising editor is Seth Klamann.