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March 26, 2021Nashville, TN, United StatesChild Exploitation

Tennessee man faces child pornography charges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Clarksville, Tennessee man was arrested last week and charged with possession of child pornography.

Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents arrested Austin Kidd, 27, March 17, 2021, at his residence. After appearing before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, he was ordered held in custody pending trial.

“The predators who exploit children through the production and distribution of child pornography often cause the victims to suffer long-term effects,” said Jerry C. Templet, Jr., special agent in charge, HSI Nashville. “The perpetrator in this case was only steps away from being hired as a substitute teacher for middle school children, making his actions especially egregious. HSI Nashville agents will continue to investigate these perpetrators to ensure they are punished for their heinous actions.”

According to the criminal complaint on file with U.S. District Court, in March 2020, HSI Nashville received an investigative referral pertaining to Kidd and his internet activity in April 2019. Agents identified a Facebook account, “ShadowPhoenix24”, as belonging to Kidd and through further investigation, agents identified Internet Protocol addresses associated with Kidd’s home address in Clarksville. Agents were also aware that in August 2019, a foreign law enforcement agency notified the FBI of an IP address in San Antonio, Texas, that was used to access online child sexual abuse and exploitation material. This address was found to have been occupied by Kidd during the time the access occurred and before he relocated to Clarksville.

Through further investigation, HSI agents determined that the IP address associated with Kidd’s Clarksville residence had accessed The Onion Router network, which is a network that masks the IP address of users and is commonly used by persons when accessing child pornography.

Agents obtained a federal search warrant for Kidd’s residence based on the information obtained through the investigation, and subsequently seized his cell phone and other media storage devices. To date, approximately 260 suspected images and videos depicting child sexual abuse have been identified on the devices.

The complaint further alleges that Kidd is in the final hiring process to become a substitute teacher for middle school children.

If convicted, Kidd faces up to 20 years in prison.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Kidd is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 03/26/2021