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Pederson charged after 'child exploitation material' found on phone

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Jun 30, 2023

Garret Pederson, a Cascade County Detention Center officer, was arrested on Thursday, June 29, 2023.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said during a news conference on Thursday that he was informed by the Great Falls Police Department that Pederson was being investigated for "possession of child exploitation material."

Sheriff Slaughter said that Pederson, who is 21 years old, has been employed by the CCSO for about six months. Pederson's employment was terminated immediately, Slaughter said, and he is being detained in the Chouteau County Sheriff's Office.

Court documents released on Friday state that when Pederson was getting a new phone earlier this week, a store employee saw more than two dozen photos of what were believed to be sexually explicit photos of children on Pederson's current phone; the employee estimated one of the children was about seven years old.

The employee notified the Great Falls Police Department, and the investigating officer went to Pederson's residence that afternoon.

Court documents state that Pederson admitted to the officer there were photos he had downloaded that were indicative of "child sexual abuse material," and admitted the "element of sexual conduct."

Pederson consented to letting the officer look at the photos on his phone, and the officer saw "hundreds" of photos in a hidden folder that "met the definition of a child engaged in sexual conduct, actual or simulated."

Court documents note that Pederson has no known criminal history.

Pederson has been charged with one felony count of sexual abuse of children.

Bail for Pederson was set at $2,500, and prosecutors requested that Pederson have continuous GPS monitoring and that he be barred from having contact with anyone under the age of 18.


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