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Examiner
  • Child porn investigation focused on St. Ann's parish

  • Federal investigators and the Independence Police Department were at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in western Independence Tuesday after it was discovered that child pornography had been downloaded using the church’s IP address.

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  • Federal investigators and the Independence Police Department were at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in western Independence Tuesday after it was discovered that child pornography had been downloaded using the church’s IP address.
    Carrie Cooper, director of the office of child protection with the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, said that a search warrant was issued for computer equipment that was in the rectory. At St. Ann’s, 10113 E. Lexington Ave., the rectory is where the priest lives and houses the church offices. Two child pornography downloads from peer-to-peer file sharing sites were made between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Feb. 5. The downloads were traced back to an IP address that is registered to the rectory at St. Ann’s.
    “We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement in this matter,” Cooper said. “We always make sure we fully cooperate with law enforcement in any matter relating to child sexual abuse.”
    But Cooper said it was discovered that St. Ann’s had an open Wi-Fi system, which complicates things. This means that anyone in or near the church could use the Internet for free using the open connection. Many individuals and businesses choose to have a secure Wi-Fi, which means that a password is needed to use the Internet connection.
    Cooper said it is not standard for a church to have an open Wi-Fi connection, and she said that it might have been an oversight on St. Ann’s part to not have made the access secure. There is no suspect in the case yet.
    Investigators took several items from the church, including four computers and storage devices. The FBI will use this evidence to determine if someone inside St. Ann’s downloaded the child pornography or if the downloads came from outside the church.
    “They will take the equipment to the regional crime center for forensic analysis. They said it could take up to 30 days to complete,” Cooper said. “Right now, it is business as usual (at St. Ann’s) or as usual as it can be without the computers.”

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