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Pennsylvania Cop Faces 50 Charges for Running Child Porn Ring

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A former Pennsylvania police officer is facing felony charges for distributing child pornography. Chad Howell, of the West Manchester Township police department, is accused of 50 counts of possessing nude or partially-nude images of girls aged 8 to 15.

The Free Thought Project quoted Township resident Kathryn Decoste saying, "I’m saddened, and I’m sickened. The trust we put in our police officers to help us, to even be inspirational to our children, hearing this kind of news is just as seriously disturbing." 

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She added, "We tell our children, if you’re in trouble, look for a police officer, my God what happens if they go to a police officer who then abuses them? It’s disgusting."

Police received 14 online tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, later confirming several social media accounts associated with Howell’s IP address at his Dillsburg home where the images were posted from, including one screenname that contained the officer’s badge number.

"Every case involving child pornography or the sexual exploitation of children is abhorrent…The fact that the defendant is in a position of public trust is especially concerning. Our office will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law," said Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania attorney general. 

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Investigators asked the 36-year-old Howell if he had any of the images on his cell phone, to which he replied, "I would like to say no, but I really don’t know." At least 50 images were later found on his device, with investigative documents stating that, "This was only a sampling of those images on Chad Richard Howell's Apple iPhone."

Decoste stated, "It’s horrible, but I choose to believe that this is an individual case. I mean we hear stories about people in positions of power, whether it be a priest, a police officer or a teacher, it’s going to happen. It’s sad and it’s sickening, but I do not think it’s an overall reflection of our police force here."

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