Case Involving Child Pornography Heads to Trial1 min read

A 5th District judge bound a Beaver County man over for trial after a preliminary hearing found the state had enough evidence to move forward on charges involving possession of child pornography.

Judge Matthew Bell ruled Monday to bind Michael Earl James, 55, over for trial after a preliminary hearing for five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor — all second-degree felonies.

According to court documents, James was initially arrested by the Beaver/Iron/Garfield Counties Narcotics Task Force in Beaver County in February for distribution of methamphetamine.

After the arrest authorities from Iron County secured a warrant for James’ cell phone looking for evidence of drug-related crimes. While going through the phone however, the agents allegedly found an image that “appeared to be child-sexual material (C-SAM).”

At that point, the search was stopped and another warrant was secured to search for any additional material similar in nature.

The warrant was granted, leading agents to find at least five more sexually-explicit images involving minors, the affidavit states.

While James’ preliminary hearing Monday was held in Iron County, Prosecuting Attorney Chad Dotson decided to turn the case over to Beaver County.

“The phone was never in Iron County so it really belongs being prosecuted in Beaver County,” Dotson said.

James was booked into the Iron County Jail March 20. He was denied bail based on his past criminal history and his current charges that the courts believed made him a “danger to the community and young females.”


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