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Man facing 30 counts of child pornography

John Thompson • Mar 25, 2019 at 7:53 PM

ELIZABETHTON — An Elizabethton man was arraigned in Carter County Criminal Court on Monday on child pornography charges.

Richard Wayne York was charged with 30 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Investigator Joe Harrah of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Elizabethton Police Department reported that the investigation of York began after two separate reports were filed against York last year on July 8 and July 22.

In the first case, a 3-year-old boy said York inappropriately touched him. In the second incident, York had been accused of attempting to photograph an 8-year-old girl as she was getting out of the shower.

Harrah worked with local and federal law enforcement agencies in the investigation, including executing search warrants on three cell phones possessed by York. He said several photographs were extracted from the phones that appeared to qualify as child pornography. He said the images appeared to be of children ranging from 4 to 17 years old.

Harrah said one set of images appeared to be photographs of a girl between the age of 10 and 12. Harrah said the girl was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. In a few of the pictures, Harrah said it appears York pulled the girl’s shorts open and took pictures of her underwear. He said another image shows York holding the girl’s shorts and underwear open to photograph her genitalia.

After a file of photographs downloaded from the cell phones had been made, Harrah said they were presented to the District Attorney’s office, where 30 were selected for York’s prosecution.

A Carter County grand jury found a true bill following a presentment by Harrah. York appeared before Judge Stacy Street on Monday. Street appointed Ryan Curtis to defend York. His next court appearance was set for May 30. He is being held in pretrial confinement at the Carter County Detention Center, with bond set at $20,000.

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