A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper has been placed on unpaid leave after he was accused of taking pornographic photos of a 16-year-old boy at the trooper’s home in southwest Missouri.
Justin D. Watson, 46, of Mountain View, Mo., was charged with four felony counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual contact with a student, also a felony.
Watson also umpires high school baseball games for the Mountain View-Birch Tree School District, according to KY3-TV in Springfield.
The Springfield News-Leader reported the boy is a student at Mountain View Liberty High School.
The boy reportedly told investigators in September that he and Watson have been in regular contact since November of 2016, but did not have sex until he turned 17.
According to reports, investigators received consent to search the teen’s phone, and found four pornographic images the teen had sent to Watson, including a picture of the two of them engaged in sexual acts.
According to KY3-TV, court documents indicate a forensic examination found the pictures were taken at Watson’s home in Mountain View.
A spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol in Jefferson City told the television station that Watson is a trooper with Troop G based in Willow Springs. He did not immediately know how long Watson had been with the Patrol.
Online court records indicate a warrant has a been issued for Watson’s arrest. His bond was set at $50,000.