A Davenport elementary school teacher pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography charges during a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Davenport.
Michael Loren Ross, who was arrested June 26, faces a minimum federal prison sentence of five years, and a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
He also faces a minimum term of supervised release of five years, with the possibility of being on supervised release for the remainder of his life.
According to the plea agreement issued Thursday, on March 27, agents received a CyberTipline Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicating user “Mike Ross” with a listed email address had uploaded a video of child pornography to his Dropbox account on Feb. 7 at 10:58 a.m.
Further investigation linked the listed email account to Ross’ phone number and to other of Ross’ social media accounts, including Facebook and Dropbox.
Dropbox provided information that showed files were being uploaded to Ross’ Dropbox account using several devices including a cellphone and laptop computer with an IP address that came back to Ross’ Davenport home.
The Dropbox information also show Ross had created sharing links for several of the files maintained in his account. The account contained numerous files that depicted prepubescent females performing sex acts.
The Dropbox files were organized into folders with names such as “teens,” “yng,” “young,” “trade vids(1),” “kids,” and “girl teen.” In viewing the folders, numerous files of pornography with an age range of toddler to adult were found.
On June 20, officers executed a search warrant at Ross’ home. During the search Ross admitted to authorities he had an addiction to pornography and admitted to knowingly possessing multiple images and videos containing child pornography.
According to the plea agreement, Ross stated that he both received and distributed child pornography. He exchanged child pornography through Dropbox links being shared on KIK.
Ross admitted he used his cellphone and laptop to receive and distribute child pornography and state he did so for his own sexual gratification. He also admitted to trading child pornography in “trading groups” wherein he would send a Dropbox link to child pornography he possessed in exchange for an image or link to another person’s images or videos of child pornography.
According to the plea agreement, agents found 851 images of child pornography with children ranging in ages from 7 to 12 on Ross’ computer.
The earliest created image was Jan. 8, 2015. The latest image was Oct. 31, 2016.
There also were 196 videos of child pornography on Ross’ laptop. The earliest creation date for the videos was July 1, 2016, and the latest was Jan. 8, 2017.
There was a Dropbox application installed on Ross’ cellphone. The web history related mostly to pornography sites; however, 145 searches came up when searching for titles associated with child pornography-related terms.
Ross’ Dropbox account contained 46 images and 141 videos of minors engaged in sexual acts.
Of the child pornography submitted, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children identified 299 images of previously identified victims and 110 videos that contained previously identified victims, according to the plea agreement.
Ross remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
A sentencing hearing is set for April 9 in U.S. District Court, Davenport.