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ATTORNEY GENERAL'S CYBER CRIMES UNIT ARRESTS HOT SPRING COUNTY MAN

LITTLE ROCK - Agents from the Attorney General's Office today arrested a Hot Spring County man for multiple counts of possession of child pornography, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced.

Tom Buck Steele, 59, of Malvern was arrested at his home this afternoon following an investigation by the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Attorney General's Office. Hot Spring County Circuit Judge Chris Williams found probable cause to charge Steele with 20 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.

Steele was being held in the Hot Spring County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

"We believe the evidence will demonstrate that this suspect had downloaded and viewed dozens of images of criminal sexual acts perpetrated upon children, and those actions are not tolerated in our State," McDaniel said. "We will conduct investigations as needed statewide to work to end the trafficking of child pornography in Arkansas."

Special Agent Wes Baxter of the Attorney General's Office began investigating Steele in September, after suspecting that child pornography was being possessed at Steele's residence, 1643 Henderson Road, in Malvern.

Agents with the Attorney General's Office executed a search warrant at Steele's residence in October. Two desktop computers were seized at that time. A forensic examination of those computers at the Cyber Crimes Unit Forensic Lab in Little Rock showed Steele to be in possession of approximately 60 images of child pornography.

The Hot Spring County Sheriff's Office assisted in the execution of the search warrant.

Seventh Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Eddy Easley will receive the case file from the Attorney General's Office and determine formal charging decisions.

Charges are merely accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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