KMOvGeneric_investigation

GODFREY, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- A Madison County pastor is charged with distributing pornography after a federal complaint was filed and a year-long investigation.

Steven P. Tibbetts, 61, served as the head pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Godfrey.

According to his attorney, Tibbetts was “released of all duties, pastoral or otherwise, at Resurrection Lutheran" Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors say the investigation of Tibbetts began in August 2019 when the blogging and social network site, Tumblr, provided a cyber tip line report about one of its user accounts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The account was searched by law enforcement and allegedly found to contain images and videos of nude minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

According to the complaint, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also received a tip from Twitter in February 2020 that one of its users had uploaded two images of suspected child pornography.

Investigators were allegedly able to trace the Tumblr and Twitter accounts back to Tibbetts’ home, where a federal search warrant was executed on June 18. A search of Tibbetts’ computer allegedly revealed the presence of additional child pornography images and videos. Agents then arrested Tibbetts at his home.

Wednesday, Tibbetts made an appearance at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis. The judge found probable cause to support the federal complaint and Tibbetts was ordered to be placed on electronic monitoring.

He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond pending trial. A trial date has not been set.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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