Crime

Kansas City police officer is charged with possessing child pornography

Federal program targets online child predators

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.
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The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

A Kansas City police officer has been charged with possessing numerous child pornography photos that were posted on the social media account connected to the officer.

Vincent Andrew Spilker, 20, whom the police department identified as a probationary officer, was charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with five counts of possessing child pornography.

Spilker, who graduated from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy on Jan. 17, was suspended from duty without pay when the criminal charges were made.

Prosecutors allege Spilker was connected to a Tumblr online account, which had reposted 10 nude photos of girls and women under 18 years old. The account allegedly contained 32 photos and a video.

Two of the photos were allegedly of a female who appeared to be under 8 years old, topless, lying on her side and dressed in only underwear while posing sexually, according to charging documents.

On Aug. 28, 2018, investigators with the Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about the suspected account. The person being reported allegedly used the email address that was later traced to a south Kansas City apartment that Spilker was renting.

During an interview with detectives in June, Spilker said he had created an email address and registered the Tumblr account with the user name “billy jean” because he was a Michael Jackson fan.

Spilker told detectives that he could not remember the last time he used the account but it had been a while. Spilker admitted that he did repost pictures of nude and partially nude females on the Tumblr account, according to court records.

Spilker said he was not sure how many photos he had reposted but the girls appeared to be under 18 years old. He admitted that some of girls in the photos were nude and probably between the ages of 10 to 12 years old, prosecutors allege.

Court records stated that Spilker said he knew reposting the pictures was wrong and he did not want to be the kind of person who shared pictures of nude young girls.

In July, investigators applied for and received a search warrant for Tumblr through the Jackson County Circuit Court. On Aug. 2, Tumblr shut down Spilker’s account after officials observed child pornography from the account had been uploaded to its servers.

Tumblr responded to the search warrant on Sept. 9 and gave investigators numerous videos and photos that contained child pornography that were connected to Spilker’s account. Some of the photos depicted children as young as 3 years old, according to prosecutors.

Spilker was released from custody after posting a $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 24. There was no attorney of record listed for him.

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How we did this story

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office issued a news release that contained the charging documents and a probable cause statement that outlined the criminal allegations.

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.
Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.
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