JOPLIN — A former Joplin police officer has admitted distributing child pornography.

Forty-three-year-old Gary McKinney pleaded guilty Monday to receiving and distributing child pornography.

The Joplin Globe reports Gary McKinney was a police officer for seven years before leaving the force in May 2006. He also worked for the Webb City and Duquesne police departments.

The investigation began in September 2018 when a joint state and federal task force received a tip about a Facebook user uploading a video of the sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl.

Federal prosecutors say that person was 31-year-old Anthony Helsel of Joplin, who is charged with sexual exploitation of children.

That investigation led to McKinney. A search of McKinney's home found about 650 images and videos of child pornography.

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