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Columbia man charged with child pornography

A Columbia man is now charged with child pornography, after detectives said they believe he videotaped a neighbor’s child through a window.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department Cyber Crimes Task Force arrested a Steve O’Neill, 35, Monday for possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor. Tuesday, O’Neill is charged with sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography and invasion of privacy of multiple individuals.

The task force began investigating O’Neill last week after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received an anonymous tip O’Neill’s wife caught him videotaping a young girl that was a neighbor.

“What it appears is that it was through a window from the outside,” Tracy Perkins, a detective with the task force, said.

Detectives met with the wife who said she found two videos of a young girl in a swimsuit on their computer, according to court documents. But the videos have since been deleted.

O’Neill admitted he knowingly created child pornography in 2013 by setting up a video camera and recording the child on different occasions while she was, “in various stages of undress,” the court documents said. O’Neill also admitted to videotaping other partially or fully nude females without their knowledge.

Investigators with the task force searched a computer and found multiple pictures and videos of women who were undressing. Investigators seized the computer and several different external hard drives, Perkins said.

O’Neill has no criminal history.

“In some cases we do have what we call re-offenders and people who have already been charged and is at sex offender status,” Perkins said. “But the majority of our crimes, cases that we’re working, have had no contact with law enforcement.”

Investigators arrested O’Neill at his home without incident. He is being held at the Boone County Jail without bond.

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