Casas to appear for pretrial Tuesday

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cassville man now facing 3 federal counts

A Cassville man appeared for pretrial Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Matthew Casas, who after a superseding indictment is facing counts of sexual exploitation of children, a class B felony, distributing child pornography, a class C felony, and possessing child pornography with an intent to distribute, a class C felony, was originally indicted by a grand jury in April on the two class C felonies.

The class B felony, carries 15-30 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The penalty for distributing child pornography is 5-20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, and true penalty for possessing child pornography is up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Casas appeared Tuesday before Magistrate Judge David P. Rush. He is being represented by Ann Koszuth, federal public defender.

The complaint against Casas was filed in March by Brian Martin, task force officer with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

According to a report released by Martin, Casas had rented a smart TV and allegedly left child pornography stored on the device's memory. Law enforcement officers reviewed the images on the set, which the report said were believed to be homemade and created by a Kodak Easy Share camera. The camera, two cell phones and a laptop computer have since been seized by authorities.

Casas is also accused of loading a number of images onto Facebook and Flickr websites. The report said those were numerous images known to be commercially available and actively traded among child pornography collectors and viewers.

Task forces officers, aided by members of the Cassville Police Department and the Barry County Sheriff's Department, executed a search warrant at the home on Feb. 28. According to Martin's report, Casas took a considerable amount of time to answer the door, as officers observed he was in the home. Casas opened the door as officers were preparing to force entry.

During an initial interview in a task force officer's vehicle, Casas denied ever looking at child pornography. He later allegedly admitted obtaining the pornography from a coworker at Justin Boots, and that he had posted images on the Facebook and Flickr accounts. He also allegedly admitted owning an SD memory card with pornographic content, about three weeks earlier, that contained thousands of images and hundreds of movies.

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