A Marshfield man has been charged with promoting child pornography in the first degree, a Class B felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail. The discovery was made during an extensive background check performed by a local church where the accused was seeking employment.
Nicholas Ryan Wallace, 32, walked into the Webster County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, May 5 and turned himself in for having child pornography stored on his phone. According to the probable cause statement, Wallace waived his rights and confessed to the crimes during an interview with a Webster County deputy.
“The local church ministers handled it pretty much exactly like you would want to see anybody handle it,” said Sheriff Roye Cole. “They discovered something that wasn’t right and went to this person saying it’s probably the right thing to do to go turn yourself in and that’s exactly what he did. He confessed to a whole host of crimes, some of which are obviously very serious.”
According to Cole, the investigation is still ongoing. The defendant showed authorities some evidence voluntarily and the sheriff’s office currently has search warrants underway to gather further evidence in the case.
The probable cause statement said that Wallace admitted to having around 500 images of child pornography on his phone and also had videos which had been deleted prior to turning himself in. The defendant stated that he knew the people in those images were underage (13-17 years old) and it was illegal to possess them.
“Normally you would think somebody who was in trouble would think, oh, I better delete that. I’m going to get rid of it,” Cole explained. “It’s actually the opposite. They just think they’re going to hide it better. You can’t hide anything on a phone… we’re going to find it.”
Wallace would create fake profiles on apps such as KIK, Snapchat, Reddit and Discord to talk to and receive photos and videos of children. He would pose as a 32-year-old woman to aquire the images, which he would then use for personal gratification and forward to a group on KIK. He said he did this on at least 50 occasions. He also admitted that he is attracted to children, has a problem and needs help.
Wallace was arrested the day he confessed to the crimes and posted a $50,000 surety bond on Wednesday, May 11. His initial appearance was held on that date and his next appearance in front of Judge Replogle will be at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 19.
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