Lander Man Charged With Possessing, Distributing Child Porn Via Social Media

in News/Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Lander man has been charged with both possessing and distributing child pornography through a social media application, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court this week.

Garret Thomas Findlay, 23, of Lander, has been charged with one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge, as well as a $250,000 fine for each count.

According to the court documents, in October, a tip was submitted to the CyberTip Report — a service that collects tips about possible crimes against children — about a user on the social messaging app Kik who shared 14 files of suspected child pornography with another user or group of users sometime between Aug. 26 and Aug. 28, 2020. All of the files depicted prepubescent girls being made to participate in sexually explicit content.

Kik supplied law enforcement with information about the user’s account, including IP addresses and that the person was using a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus cellphone to access their account through the Verizon network.

Law enforcement contacted Verizon, which provided a phone number for that particular phone, which was Findlay’s number. The company also confirmed Findlay had that same type of phone.

Officials tracked down one of the IP addresses to a residence in Laramie. There, they spoke with the property owner, who rented an apartment to Findlay from July to mid-December. Following this, Findlay moved back into his parents’ home in Lander.

Another IP address connected to the Kik account was found to be at Findlay’s mother’s home in Lander.

Police executed a search warrant of the home in early March, where they obtained Findlay’s cellphone and detained the man. He was transported to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, where he made several admissions to possessing child pornography on his phone, using Kik to send and receive child pornography and ultimately admitting the account under investigation was his.

When accessing his phone, investigators found 22 images and 10 videos of child pornography. Findlay advised the last time he viewed the material the previous night, when he’d received “some” images via the social media app Whisper.

He told agents he’d used Whisper numerous times to send and receive child pornography.

It was found that on or around March 1, Findlay used Whisper to send 18 images of child pornography to another user on the app.

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