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Convicted sex offender accused of possessing child pornography

Robert Baesler

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—A convicted sex offender was arrested on February 6 after over 100 files uploaded online were found to be suspected child pornography images, according to the probable cause affidavit.

On September 19, 2019 the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a complaint from Google reporting that a user uploaded 145 files of suspected child pornography photos, court documents said.

The files showed nude juvenile children, some involved in sexual activity with other children, court documents said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on September 16, 2019, the reported user uploaded a file showing a nude juvenile female engaged in sexual activity.

The reported user’s IP address was captured at the time of the upload on September 16, court documents said.

On October 31, 2019, an administrative subpoena was sent to the cell phone provider that corresponds to the IP address requesting subscriber information.

The provider supplied account information pertaining to the subscriber attached to the IP address, court documents said.

The phone number and name matched the information initially reported by Google, reports said.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect to be Robert Baesler, 68, of Elkhart, who is a registered sex offender, court documents said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Baesler was convicted of child molesting in Elkhart County in 2006. Later that same year, Baesler was convicted of possession of child pornography.

On February 6, 2020, FBI agents and local law enforcement executed a search warrant on Baesler’s home for evidence of possession of child pornography, court documents said.

Baesler, after waiving his rights, told an FBI agent that he downloaded child pornography from the internet, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The FBI agent reported finding a “large amount of child pornography images” on Baesler’s cell phone, court documents said.

Baesler was arrested on February 6 and booked in the St. Joseph County Jail. He is scheduled for a preliminary court hearing on February 10.

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