University Park Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

A University Park man pleaded guilty last week to transporting and shipping child pornography, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Robert Burney Capps, 71, pleaded guilty in federal court on Jan. 7 to transporting and shipping child pornography. According to court documents, in September 2019, the Homeland Security Investigations Child Exploitation Group received a tip that someone had uploaded a pornographic picture of a minor to the Kik messaging app.

According to court documents, HSI received a tip from the messaging service that had initially been reported to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The cyber tip revealed that a user with the name “elegantwist,” using the email robertcapps@yahoo.com had uploaded an image that was flagged by PhotoDNA as being possible child pornography. Kik reported the IP address as well, and when the RCMP determined that address was based in the U.S., reported the tip to U.S. federal authorities.

HSI then determined that the image was indeed child pornography, and also determined that the IP address and other identifying information linked the photo to Capps, and obtained a search warrant for Capps’s home.

During his interview with agents, Capps apparently admitted that he had exchanged images with a user named “Sara” on yet another messaging app – Mega Chat – under the user name “streitwise.”

“A forensic review was conducted on the Apple iPhone X seized from Capps’s residence,” court documents said. “The phone contained the Mega Chat application. Child pornography was found stored within the Mega Chat application and other areas of the operating system.”

The forensic review revealed 508 images of minors that would be legally classified as child pornography.

“These images included sadistic images as well as images of infants and toddlers,” the documents said.

Capps was ultimately charged with two counts of transporting and shipping child pornography, and then pleaded guilty to those counts. The U.S. Attorney’s office said he faces up to 20 years.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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