A New Hampshire pastor was charged Tuesday morning on a toddler pornography cost, police introduced after the arrest.
Stephen Bates, 46, stands accused of 1 rely of possession of kid sexual abuse pictures, in line with court docket data obtained by Regulation&Crime. Regulation enforcement say further costs are seemingly.
“I feel this case is especially regarding as a result of he’s a pastor and anyone that’s concerned in the neighborhood right here,” Nashua Police Division Lieutenant Brian Trefry stated in feedback reported by Boston-based impartial tv station WHDH.
“Throughout a search of his particular person, he had some thumb drives or flash drives on him, which we had been in a position to analyze on scene and so they contained youngster pornography,” Trefry informed Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.
In accordance with a press launch, the investigation into the defendant started over 5 years in the past in August 2016 after the Nationwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Kids despatched the NPD a tip that youngster pornography had been accessed by an digital gadget utilizing an IP handle related to the Bible Baptist Church in Nashua, NH.–the identical place the place Bates labored and tended to his flock.
Extra NCMEC ideas had been obtained once more in 2017. Police say they investigated every a type of ideas however had been unable to assemble sufficient proof to assist felony costs–not less than for awhile.
One other 12 months handed with little progress made. Then regulation enforcement’s luck modified–albeit fairly slowly.
In 2019, Homeland Safety Investigations in Denver, Co. focused a producer and distributor of kid pornography. The suspect on the middle of that investigation had shared youngster pornography by way of social media with an unidentified particular person whose IP handle was, but once more, related to the Bible Baptist Church in Nashua.
In 2020, The Tallahassee Police Division in Florida launched their very own investigation of internet-based youngster pornography publishers. Throughout their investigation, they discovered a writer of kid pornography pictures utilizing an IP handle related to Bates’ church.
In 2021, Blaine, Wash.-based HSI brokers had been investigating the sexual exploitation of a kid. The suspect in that case had communicated with somebody on social media about their shared curiosity in having intercourse with kids. As soon as once more, that unknown particular person’s IP handle was related to the church the place Bates preached.
The Bible Baptist Church’s web site is at the moment partially offline; the principle web page reads “unavailable.” In accordance with WCVB, the web site recognized the start of Bates’ ministry there as Aug. 7, 2005.
The NPD, of their press launch, insist the defendant was at all times a “particular person of curiosity” in every of their prior investigations however say there simply “wasn’t adequate proof to cost him with any crimes.”
That calculus modified considerably, police stated, after the execution of search warrant at round 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.
“Throughout a search of his particular person two flash drives had been positioned,” the NPD’s press launch alleges. “Throughout a evaluation of the content material on the drives quite a few pictures of kid pornography had been positioned. On account of him possessing youngster pornography Pastor Bates was arrested. Pastor Bates has been initially charged with Possession of Little one Sexual Abuse Pictures however extra costs are anticipated because the investigation continues and extra digital proof is analyzed.”
Bates was detained however made money bail set at $3,000 earlier than he may very well be arraigned, aa court docket official informed Regulation&Crime.
As a part of his launch, the defendant waived any extradition proceedings and agreed to sure circumstances of launch.
“Def[endant] shall not use any laptop,” the bail order reads. “[Bates] shall not entry the web for any cause. [Bates] shall not have any unsupervised contact with any juvenile below 18.”
Bates’ subsequent court docket look has not been set and is at the moment to be decided, these court docket paperwork word.
Beneath Granite State regulation, the defendant faces a most 15 years in state jail on the kid sexual abuse pictures cost.
[image via Nashua Police Department]
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