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Kentucky State Police Charges Leslie County Man With Child Sexual Exploitation Offenses

HYDEN, KY — The Kentucky State Police (KSP) Electronic Crime Branch located and arrested Michael Joseph Lewis, 38, on charges related to a child sexual abuse material investigation.

Lewis was located, interviewed, and arrested as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation. The KSP Electronic Crime Branch began the investigation after discovering the suspect sharing sexually explicit images of juveniles online.

The investigation resulted in executing a search warrant at a residence in Hyden on December 5, 2023. Equipment used to facilitate the crime was seized and taken to KSP's forensic laboratory for examination. The investigation is still ongoing.

Lewis is currently charged with five counts of possessing matter portraying a minor over the age of 12 in a sexual performance, and five counts of possessing matter portraying a minor under the age of 12 in a sexual performance. Possessing matter portraying a minor over the age of 12 in a sexual performance is a Class-D felony punishable by one to five years in prison. Possessing matter portraying a minor under the age of 12 in a sexual performance is a Class-C felony punishable by five to ten years in prison. Lewis was lodged in the Leslie County Jail.

The Kentucky Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is comprised of more than twenty-six local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the United States Department of Justice and administrated by the Kentucky State Police, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing a response to cyber enticement and child sexual abuse material investigations. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the internet, the proliferation of child sexual abuse material, and the heightened online activity of predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.

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