|Dr. John Robert Lewis (mug shot JCSO)|
Federal charges of possession of child pornography have been filed against a Sarcoxie school board member.
Authorities arrested Dr. John Robert Lewis jusrt prior to a school board meeting on Thursday (02-21-13) evening. An investigation into Lewis, 67, was launched last October after a group of male high school students told authorities that Lewis had allegedly exposed himself to them while they worked on his farm just outside of Sarcoxie.
The students told investigators that after they had been swimming in a creek on Lewis' property last spring he stood up on an ATV, in which a student was seated next to him, pulled his underwear down and exposed himself to them.
"The students disclosed conversation Lewis had with them about masturbating and how he would touch them on the buttocks when they were working," according to the criminal complaint.
When Lewis was interviewed at his residence on December 5th, "he denied exposing his penis in close proximity to any Sarcoxie high school student that worked at his residence."
When Highway Patrol Sgt. Musche asked Lewis for consent to search his home computer for any images of child pornography, "Lewis stated he had images on his computer that he did not want made public," and refused to let he and another officer consent to search the computers.
After the refusal, investigators secured the house and obtained a search warrant and seized the several computers and electronic storage devices found in the home.
According to court records, Lewis became "adversarial" during the officers visit and was found to have a "very large weapons collection" in his home.
When the computers and electronic storage devices were forensically examined, investigators allegedly found 19 multimedia files of child pornography and 113 images of suspected child pornography. The multimedia files and images depicted primarily male children as young as five years old, according to Tammy Dickinson, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
Lewis, who is in federal custody pending an extradition hearing, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Springfield on Wednesday (02-27-13) morning.