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Westminster man charged with possessing, distributing child porn

Justin M. Peterson
Justin M. Peterson(Carroll County Sheriff's Office)

A Westminster man faces charges of possessing and distributing child pornography after police say he sent videos out of state.

Justin M. Peterson, 25, of the 5100 block of Biemiller Road, was charged Wednesday with three counts each of possessing child pornography and promoting/distributing child pornography, online court records show. He was being held without bond at of 10 a.m. Friday.

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Boone Police Department, of North Carolina, informed the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office that a 15-year-old suspect in custody in Boone had been sending and receiving child pornography, and police linked the source of the videos to a Maryland resident, according to charging documents. A Boone detective took control of the 15-year-old’s social media accounts and corresponded with the Maryland suspect, later identified as Peterson, charging documents state. Police wrote that Peterson believed he was chatting with the 15-year-old at this time, charging documents read.

Peterson sent three videos depicting child pornography to the 15-year-old’s social media account Feb. 26, which the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office also reviewed, according to charging documents. Peterson sent a photo of himself at work to the teen, which led police to identifying and arresting Peterson at his place of employment, charging documents state.

Boone police found Peterson sent a message to the 15-year-old’s social media that appeared to be an advertisement to take sons, brothers, and nephews from fathers, older brothers, and uncles who “want them gone,” according to charging documents. Still acting as the 15-year-old on social media, the Boone detective asked Peterson where he posted that message, and Peterson replied he posted it to a chat website and was communicating with a user on the site who had a young son “who he wants out of his life,” charging documents state.

During the investigation, Maryland State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was made aware of the case and researched the suspect they later found to be Peterson, charging documents read. An analyst with the task force found a convicted sex offender with the same birth date as Peterson living in Westminster, according to charging documents.

Carroll County Sheriff’s Office arrested Peterson Thursday at about 1:54 p.m., and Peterson told police he is on probation for child pornography with intent to distribute, charging documents state. Online court records show Peterson was found guilty of possessing child pornography with intent to distribute in Westminster on June 28, 2016 and sentenced to 124 days incarceration.

There was no attorney listed for Peterson in online court records.

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