MERIDIAN - A Meridian man is facing multiple felony charges after police say they found pornography depicting very young children on his cellphone.
Shawn Paul Beery, 25, was nabbed by the Meridian Police Department May 14 in a child enticement sting. Investigators have several profiles depicting minors set up on Facebook and other social media sites.
Lt. Mike De St Germain said says Beery tried to get one of the children to meet up with him for sex.
Instead, he was met by officers who took him into custody. Beery was booked into the Ada County Jail and charged with felony enticement of a child. He was free on a $50,000 bond two days later.
But police, who seized Beery's cell phone during the arrest, asked prosecutors for a warrant to search its contents.
After the search warrant was granted, investigators found many, many pictures of very small children involved in pornography, De St Germain said. Most of the images on the phone depicted children as young as toddlers, he said.
Beery was already out of jail when investigators saw what was on his phone, but not for long, De St Germain said.
Unbeknownst to him, all the while we were analyzing his phone, he said. Once we saw the pictures on his phone, we went back to the prosecutor to give us a warrant for his arrest.
Beery was taken into custody again Tuesday, and charged with ten felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child. If convicted, he could face up to a decade in prison on each count, and up to 15 years in prison if convicted of enticing a child over the Internet.
He was arraigned on the exploitation charges Wednesday. His bond is set at $250,000, and he is scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing on the enticement charge June 24.
For police, the focus is now shifting to the children in the photos. Investigators are working to find out whether any of the toddlers are local children.
Sometimes, police have luck matching the victims in an image against a national database. Other times, location information is encoded in the images themselves, releasing information about where they were taken or uploaded to the internet.
It could be an uphill battle, De St Germain said.
We'll keep looking at them and deal with the federal task force, he said. Definitely, we're going to try to figure out who the victims are.