Google tips lead to child porn charges for Franklin man

A Franklin man is facing child pornography charges after police received a cyber tip that he had nude images of children on online accounts registered to him.

Gary M. Smith, 58, is charged with two counts of possession of child pornography as a Level 5 felony and one count of possession of child pornography as a Level 6 felony. The Level 5 felony counts are enhanced due to the images depicting children under the age of 12.

Detectives with the Indiana State Police’s Internet Crimes and Against Children Taskforce began investigating Smith after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, in September, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Johnson County Superior Court 3 on Nov. 21. The tip was actually four cyber tips linked together that were reported to NCMEC by Google.

Beginning on Aug. 1, Google employees discovered 75 images of child pornography on an account listed to Smith. The account had his name, date of birth, phone number and email addresses known to be associated with him, according to the affidavit.

Multiple IP addresses were also provided which showed the account holder was in or around Indianapolis and Franklin. An Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles search later found an exact match to Smith, the affidavit says.

The images provided to NCMEC by Google showed images of children, both boys and girls, between the ages of 8 and 10 in stages of undress, according to the affidavit.

Near the end of September, and after receiving a search warrant, detectives were able to gain access to Smith’s email and account records. Records further confirmed he lived in Franklin, and showed that storage was nearly full on two online file-sharing accounts of his. Additionally, he installed and used multiple different virtual private network, or VPN, services in a possible attempt to conceal his location and identity, the affidavit says.

When police reviewed images on the account, they found images of Smith, including his driver’s license. They also found the images sent to NCMEC, along with images that were not previously flagged by Google.

Smith had “hundreds” of images of teenage boys between the ages of 14-18, along with images of young males between the ages of 9-12. Some of the images showed children nude while others showed them performing sex acts, the affidavit said.

Police executed a search warrant for Smith and his home in mid-October. Detectives met with Smith at his job to try to speak with him, but he would not talk to them, according to the affidavit.

Police seized his phone, three flash drives and his computer, the affidavit said.

After a forensic examination was completed in November, detectives determined that the email account with the nude images was on Smith’s phone. They also discovered one of the flash drives seized was encrypted, and they needed a key to unlock it.

The computer contained a video of nude children performing a sexual act, the affidavit shows.

Smith was arrested Thursday on a warrant. His bond was set at $7,800 bond, which he paid and was later released.