More than 8,000 child porn photos and videos found after search warrant executed on Gainesville man's home


Tracy Todd Presson. Ozark County Jail photo.

Tracy Todd Presson, 53, of Gainesville, is being held in the Ozark County Jail on a total of $300,000 in cash only bonds, after Ozark County Prosecuting Attorney John Garrabrant filed two seperate cases in which Presson is charged with 10 felony counts including statutory rape, statutory sodomy, possession of more than 20 images of child pornography, possession of videoed child pornography and use of a child in a sexual performance. Presson is represented by Springfield-area defense attorney Adam Woody. 

"There are thousands of images and videos that we still have to go through, so we can begin to identify the victims. We've already went through and tagged 8,000," Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed said in a press release Tuesday. "We have been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, as there are other states involved with this. It is possible trafficking of children."

Reed told the Times that authorities believe Presson is responsible for taking the photos and videos, and there are numerous victims involved, likely in multiple states. 

Presson was originally charged Oct. 3 with three class D felonies, one count of second-degree statutory rape and two counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, after officers reportedly interviewed a teen who said Presson had engaged in sexual acts with the juvenile.

According to the original probable cause statement in the case, prepared by Ozark County Cpl. Curtis Dobbs, a 16-year-old was interviewed by the sheriff's office and the Missouri Division of Family Services at approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2. The teen reportedly told officers that Presson had been engaging in sexual acts with the victim for approximately five years from the time the individual was 11 years old. The victim reportedly said the acts had occurred at Presson's home in Gainesville, as well as in another state, and some of the acts were recorded in photo and video formats and stored on Presson's laptop. 

Dobbs interviewed Presson at the sheriff's office at 11:19 p.m. Oct. 2. Presson acknowledged spending the night in a motel room with the teen but denied having sexual relations with the victim, according to court documents. 

A search warrant was executed on the Presson home the next day, Oct. 3, and several items were confiscated, according to a press release from Reed. The victim was reportedly interviewed by the Child Advocacy Center on Oct. 3, and the teen said the abuse had occurred repeatedly over several years. 

Officers worked through the evidence and information gathered, and Presson's case was amended from the original three felony counts to include eight felonies, and an additional case was filed in which Presson was charged with the felony child pornography charges. 

The probable cause statements in both cases have been sealed by the court, at the sheriff's and proseuctor's request due to the "horrific" details and information included. 

"There are months of investigation left. We've just scratched the surface of this case," Reed said. "Please say a prayer for these children." 

Reed said he is happy that Presson's bond was raised from the original $50,000, making it more difficult for the defendant to post bond and be released from custody. 

"Our number one priority is the safety of these kids, and you know we're going to do everything we possibly can to make sure these pedophiles stay in jail," he told the Times Monday.

Reed said a Facebook commenter recently pointed to a local television news broadcast that detailed the statistics on a large number of sex offenders in the state who are not registering or staying in compliance with the sex offender laws. Reed says he wants Ozark Countians to know that the Ozark County Sheriff's Office does keep track of sex offenders in the area and files charges on those who do not register or break their court conditions. 

"Rest assured, we stay on top of it in Ozark County. We make sure they work where they're allowed, and live where they are supposed to. If they don't register, we file charges on them," Reed said. "When Halloween comes around, we make sure they are going by what they are supposed to and are in compliance. It's a priority for me and something that I instill in my deputies too. We need to keep tabs on it, and we are, for the safety of our children."

According to information released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, one in four women and one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. MSHP statistics also show that 67 percent of sexual assaults are on victims under that age of 18. 

According to MSHP, certain sexual offenders may not reside within 1,000 feet of any public or private school or childcare facility, loiter within 500 feet of a school while juvenile's are present, serving as an athletic coach, manager or trainer of a sports team in which a child younger than 17 is a member, among other conditions. 

Sex offenders are required to avoid all Halloween-related contact with children, remain inside his or her residence between 5 p.m. 10:30 p.m., post a sign stating "No candy or treats at this house," and leave all residential outdoor lights off in the evening. 

Missouri has a statewide sex offender registry that can be accessed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol's website at www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov. Information includes name, alias names, date of birth, alias dates of birth, physical description, all addresses, offense, vehicle information, picture of registered sex offenders and offense dates. Additional public access can be found by searching the National Sex Offender Public website at www.nsopr.gov

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423

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