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Investigators say local man used Twitter to share child pornography

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Nathanial Allen Pickering | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — A local man faces prison time after investigators say he shared child pornography.

In April 2020, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sent a tip from Twitter of an account uploading five images of child pornography. According to an affidavit of probable cause, local investigators tied the account to Nathanial Allen Pickering, 42, of Idaho Falls.

He is now charged with felony possession of material sexually exploiting a child.

In September, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrived in Idaho Falls to search Pickering’s 3rd Street home and two local businesses associated with him. As detectives interrogated Pickering, the man explained he and his significant other used the Twitter account to arrange sexual encounters with other couples.

He admitted to seeing child pornography but said people would send it to him and when he clicked on links, it must have downloaded to his account. Pickering told detectives he “never intentionally downloaded any images of that kind on his phone,” according to court documents.

Bonneville County Sheriff detectives found the images of the child pornography inside the same folder as images of adult pornography Pickering would reportedly send to other adults to attract sexual encounters.

Detectives confronted Pickering about several tweets he had that contained links to children being sexually abused and bestiality. Pickering still denied ever sending child pornography.

In the probable cause, investigators say they found several messages between Pickering and another Twitter account. Among the back and forth messages were hundreds of links to images showing child sexual abuse.

In December, the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office charged Pickering, alleging he “did knowingly and willfully commit sexual exploitation of a child.” Deputies arrested Pickering, but he posted $75,000 bail and was released from the Bonneville County Jail.

A preliminary hearing for Pickering is scheduled for Jan. 29 at the Bonneville County Courthouse.

Although Pickering is charged with a crime, it does not necessarily he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted of sexual exploitation of a child, a judge could order Pickering to spend up to 10 years in prison.

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