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Sykesville man charged with distributing child pornography

A Sykesville man was charged with distributing child pornography after allegedly saving hundreds of videos and images to a file hosting service.

Donald Lewis Simmons, 41, of the 1400 block of Streaker Road, was charged with 10 counts of distributing child pornography. He was released on $25,000 bond following a June 26 bail review, according to electronic court records.

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According to police charging documents, the file hosting service Dropbox reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user uploaded an image of suspected child pornography. The investigation was assigned to a detective of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 24. The image’s file path included the phrase “first trade,” causing the detective to believe the user was trading images of child pornography.

Comcast subscriber data and Dropbox account information linked the account to Donald Simmons, of Sykesville. In law enforcement records, the detective found that Simmons was the subject of a child pornography investigation in 2017 that did not lead to charges. The detective got a search warrant for the Dropbox account and the company provided information about the account’s activity and saved files on Feb. 4. In a deleted folder, the detective identified 204 files of child pornography and 440 files that depict child erotica or pornography where the age of the subject cannot be determined. After consulting with the State’s Attorney’s Office, the decision was made to seek child pornography distribution charges for 10 of the most egregious files. Several depicted sexual abuse of infants and toddlers, according to the statement.

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A search warrant was delayed until June 25 because of COVID-19, according to the statement. Simmons spoke to investigators and admitted the Dropbox account was his, according to the charging documents.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 21. No attorney was listed for Simmons in court records as of noon Monday. An individual reached Monday at the phone number listed for Simmons said he did not wish to comment.

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