This indictment resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Queensland Police Service of Queensland, Australia.
Jonathan Kearn, 38 of Topeka, was charged with one count each of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography.
According to the affidavit, the investigation began last month when Kearn is alleged to have sent photographs of naked children to an undercover investigator working for the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Australian authorities forwarded this information to HSI's Cyber Crime Center in Fairfax, Va. HSI then followed the electronic trail leading to Kearn. Investigators subsequently executed a search warrant at Kearn's residence in Topeka and seized items depicting or related to child pornography.
If convicted, Kearn faces a penalty of 15 to 30 years for producing child pornography, five to 20 years for distributing child pornography, and not more than 10 years for possessing child pornography.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.