A Washington man who allegedly lured two young girls into his home in August 2015 was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of possession of child pornography.

The indictment alleges that Jerald W. Johnson, 45, possessed images and videos of child pornography between Aug. 5 and Aug. 27, 2015.

According to federal court documents, Johnson was in possession of videos and images of child pornography. The indictment further alleges the equipment used to produce the pornographic material, including a Dell laptop and Toshiba hard drive, was produced outside of Missouri and traveled in interstate commerce. 

Johnson was indicted March 29 and released on a $20,000 bond April 7. A motion to suppress evidence filed on behalf of Johnson was heard in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri,   Aug. 29. The motion was continued to a later date, according to court records. 

Washington Investigation

The federal charges are linked to an August 2015 incident in the 300 block of Stafford Street where Washington police seized “bags and bags of CDs and zip drives” from a man’s home.

Investigators searched the suspect’s home after he allegedly invited two girls, ages 13 and 10, into the residence where he admittedly took photos of the girls in various outfits. The man claimed the pictures were not illegal. He was not arrested and no charges have been filed.

The suspect was employed at the time as an over-the-road truck driver.

Investigators questioned the man and obtained search warrants and seized a large amount of evidence, including possible “illegal photos” and computer files, police reported.

The incident was investigated by Washington police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Police Notified

Investigators learned of the incident after one of the girls, age 13, told a counselor at Washington Middle School about being involved in taking “inappropriate” photos with an adult. That information was relayed to the School Resource Officer, according to Washington police.

The girl then told police that she and a 10-year-old friend had been walking Aug. 26, 2015, in the evening and encountered the suspect at his home on Stafford Street. Police said the man “enticed” the girls inside, where he fed them pizza and soda, and they watched movies.

Police said the 13-year-old girl wasn’t sure of the location of the home but after driving around with police and her father, pointed out the man’s residence.

The suspect, who was sitting on the porch, was “cooperative” when questioned by police.

Evidence Seized

During additional questioning, the investigation “revealed much more potential evidence of possibly illegal photos and computer files in his possession,” police said in a prepared statement.

Officers found a photo studio and other evidence in the basement of the home.

The computer, photo equipment and other evidence were turned over to detectives with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, who passed it on to an FBI unit that specializes in computer and cyber crimes.

The man is said to be from Illinois. Police believe he lived in Washington the last couple of years.