A Billings man was arraigned in federal court in Billings last week on charges of sexual exploitation of children after convincing an underage Sheridan girl into sending him explicit photographs via her Facebook account.
Joshua Morgan, 27, was reported to Madison County Sheriff’s office on Aug. 5 after the father of a 15-year-old Sheridan girl found out that he might be travelling to town to meet his daughter and her 13-year-old friend, according to court records.
Morgan had allegedly been communicating with the 15-year-old via the Internet for the past few months. According to court documents, Morgan knew the girl was underage and convinced her into sending him sexually explicit photos via Facebook on numerous occasions.
When Morgan began talking to the 13-year-old friend and planned to travel to Sheridan to meet her, the girls told a parent, according to the court document.
Investigators found the images the 15-year-old sent Morgan, along with conversations she had with him via a chat room and his instructions to her on the girl’s computer.
Morgan is accused of using instruments of interstate commerce to sexually exploit a child. If convicted he could face 15 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Morgan was already on federal supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the court document.
The case highlights the efforts around the state to try and prevent cases of sexual exploitation via the Internet, said Roger Thompson, Madison County Undersheriff.
Like many counties, Madison County partners with federal law enforcement agencies on such cases to be able to make quick arrests, Thompson said.
The county also is active in providing education on child predators and the increased danger of them approaching children via the Internet, he said. This year officials from the sheriff’s department will offer presentations to schools around the county to help educate children and parents about proper ways to protect yourself and your family from child predators.