Tangipahoa Parish man faces child porn charges - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Tangipahoa Parish man faces child porn charges

Ponchatoula man booked on child porn charges Ponchatoula man booked on child porn charges
PONCHATOULA, LA (WVUE) -

Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Lonnie Greco announces the arrest of Stephen James Chupko, 30, of 14615 Madison Lane Ponchatoula for distribution of child pornography.

Chupko was arrested Tuesday, Dec. 15 at his home by members of the Louisiana Attorney General's Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which includes members of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office. 

Chupko was taken into custody after they served a search warrant on his residence and obtained evidence connecting him to the crime.

The ICAC program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 3,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. 

These agencies are engaged in both proactive and reactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions.

On November 27, 2015, the PPSO Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Section began an undercover operation into the distribution of pornography involving juveniles.

During the investigation, Chupko shared software files, by way of a computer network, with PPSO Detective Sergeant Aaron Verrette, who is a member of the ICAC Task Force and was working in an official undercover capacity.

Upon examining the files that Chupko shared, Sergeant Verrette says he determined that they contained nearly 2,400 images of what appeared to be child pornography.

Further review of the shared files revealed that they allegedly contained nude photographs of prepubescent females, who had been posed in a sexually explicit manner.

The victims' ages ranged from newborns to young girls about nine-year-olds, with the majority of the images being of infants and toddlers.

Sergeant Verrette says he discovered that the child pornography was transmitted over the internet from Chupko's home, located at 14615 Madison Lane in Ponchatoula.

The PPSO coordinated with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office and the agencies began working the case jointly.

Investigators subsequently obtained a search warrant for Chupko's residence.

Early on Dec. 15, members of the ICAC Task Force executed a search warrant at Chupko's home.

He was located at the residence and authorities say he admitted to investigators that he has been searching and downloading child pornography from the internet and said he downloaded the child pornography because he was "curious." 

Chupko allegedly told investigators that the youngest victim he had downloaded appeared to be about nine-years-old.

During a preliminary examination of Chupko's computer's hard drive and computer devices, investigators say they located images and videos of child pornography.

The items were seized as evidence and they will undergo a thorough forensic examination by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office Cyber Crime Unit.

Additional charges may be filed, pending the results of that examination.

Based on the results of the investigation, Sergeant Verrette obtained an arrest warrant on Chupko for distribution of child pornography.

Chupko was transported to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail where he was booked by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office with 17 counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography by the Louisiana State Police, and as a fugitive from Plaquemines Parish for one count of distribution of child pornography.

Chupko remains in the custody of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office and will be transported to Plaquemines Parish at a later time.

Chupko's arrest was a result of a joint investigation involving the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana Attorney General's Cyber Crime Unit, Louisiana State Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office.

If convicted, Chupko faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of pornography involving juveniles. 

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