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Tipsheet

Ex-ABC News Journalist Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

Townhall Media

A former ABC News acclaimed producer, previously the outlet's senior Emmy-winning investigative journalist, pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges of transporting and possessing child pornography in a horrific case involving infant rape.

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In February 2020, ex-ABC News reporter 53-year-old James Gordon Meek of Arlington, Virginia, used an online messaging platform on his iPhone, where he discussed a sexual interest in children, to send and receive graphic images as well as videos depicting kids forced to engage in sexually explicit conduct, according to court documents. Some of the child sexual abuse material (CSAM) depicted prepubescent minors under the age of 12, including an infant being raped. Meek, who was visiting South Carolina then, brought the iPhone containing the child porn across state lines back with him when he returned home.

Federal agents arrested the former ABC News producer in January after a probe was initiated from an investigative tip sent by file-hosting service Dropbox. That lead ultimately led to a court-authorized search of Meek's residence in April 2022, where law enforcement seized multiple devices that contained evidence against Meek. According to the criminal affidavit, a user told Meek: "I'd give anything to rape toddlers with you." The court document says that Meek, using the username "Pawny4," sent a video depicting a baby being brutally raped, remarking: "I wish I could lick up all that c*m all over that little baby that he just raped."

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Another image found on Meek's external hard drive during the raid, among 58 other discoveries of child-porn material, depicted a nude prepubescent boy with a strap around his face and a device forcing his mouth open, the federal affidavit says. The boy's hands are bound to his feet, and he's wearing a Santa Claus-style hat with a bow placed around the waist above his penis.

Two weeks before the raid, Meek, whose high-profile journalism career had him reporting on terrorism, war, and crime, published his last story for ABC News about the federal conviction of an ISIS fighter in the same U.S. district court where his own case is unfolding. Meek immediately resigned from the Disney-owned network following the federal raid. According to his still-active ABC News biography, Meek once was a senior counterterrorism advisor and investigator for the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, a position where he "advised top congressional leaders" and "held top-secret clearance," The Washington Post reported.

Facing a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years behind bars, Meek is set to be sentenced on Sept. 29. A judge will determine the sentence after considering the sentencing guidelines and statutory factors.

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Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s Washington Field Office made the guilty-plea announcement in a U.S. Department of Justice press release issued Friday.

The D.C.-based FBI field office's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force is investigating the Meek case, which was brought forward as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, as launched in May 2006 by the DOJ. Trial attorney Whitney Kramer of the criminal division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zoe Bedell for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting Meek's case.

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