Former editor-in-chief of the left-leaning news site The Recount has been charged for possession and disbursement of child pornography in Berkshire, Massachusetts.
On Monday, Slade Sohmer, 44, was charged with owning and distributing child pornography, according to Berkshire authorities.
Sohmer served as the editor-in-chief of The Recount, a left-wing news outlet, until last month. According to the report, he was accused in a Massachusetts court of possessing and sharing “hundreds of child pornography images and videos.” However, he was released on a $100,000 bail on Monday.
According to Sohmer’s LinkedIn page, he had also previously worked as a managing editor and editorial director for a company called BeMe, which is “a mobile mental health platform — made for and With Teens In Mind™ — to improve teen well-being by bringing together the best aspects of digital media, live support, and clinical care,” the website’s About Us section reads.
Sohmer was initially arrested at his residence in Otis, Massachusetts, on Friday, weeks after law enforcement officials discovered material on his electronic devices after they had acquired a search warrant.
Prosecutors also claimed that he himself filmed a personal video in which he was directing a minor to perform sexual acts. Court documents state that Sohmer’s cellphone included disturbing videos portraying boys as young as three years old being raped and forced to perform sex acts by adults.
Berkshire police officers confiscated electronics from Sohmer’s Otis residence on October 18th. According to court documents, investigators claimed that 53 videos containing child pornography were sent from one of Sohmer’s phones.
Moreover, the prosecution claims that Sohmer was also caught on camera giving a minor instructions on how to perform a sexual act. However, authorities have since discovered the child’s identity, they claimed.
Since the child’s identity has now been discovered, this means that Sohmer will most likely be charged with even more crimes, according to the report.
Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey stated that this case is one of the most “egregious” cases that she has come across in her line of work.
“We went from just dissemination of child pornography to production of child pornography,” Shelvey told Judge Danielle Williams of Southern Berkshire District Court on Monday.
The former editor-in-chief pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession and two counts of dissemination of child pornography.
If Sohmer is convicted, he has the potential to be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in state prison for the offense of disseminating child pornography and an extra 5 years for possessing it.
A spokesperson at the news site’s parent company The News Movement made a statement, saying that Sohmer “is no longer editor-in-chief” of the network “following a company restructure exercise in early October to focus on our editorial and commercial plans.”