A West Portsmouth man, who already is in prison in Hocking County as a sexual predator, is facing additional charges of child pornography.
Mickiel Harwell, 64, of the Lett Terrace area, is serving two years for failure to register as a sex offender.
“He had been living there for four or five years and hadn't registered, so we snatched him up and sent him off to prison,” said Scioto County Sheriff's Detective Jodi Conkel.
Conkel said additional charges will be presented to the Scioto County Grand Jury Friday, after a report from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation came back Tuesday showing child pornography on the hard drives of Harwell's computers.
“We had received several complaints from Harwell's neighbors and parents of children in the area that they thought he was taking pictures of children and might be into child pornography,” said Conkel. “So we obtained a warrant and conducted a search on March 31, 2006, where we confiscated several hard drives and sent them off to BCII.”
Conkel said Jim Hawk, of BCII, returned with the report on September 8, and that report showed the hard drives contained 197 separate photos of juvenile females and males in sexual positions, as well as photos of young girls in bikinis on the beach, girls playing volleyball and other pictures of children .
Conkel said Hawk had made copies of all the photos found on
Harwell's hard drive and that they would be presented as evidence.
“I would guess these children to be around nine or ten years of age,” she said.
“You never get used to seeing this stuff. It is disgusting,” said Conkel, who recently testified before the jury in the case of William T. Tackett, 51, of Flatwoods, Ky., who was convicted on 66 counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. Tackett is slated to serve 25 years in prison.
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said the exact charges in the case will be established by the Scioto County Grand Jury, after Conkel completes her investigation.
Kuhn said Harwell was sentenced on June 16, 2006, and received credit for 71 days served, making him eligible for release on March 28, 2008.
Kuhn also said there were active warrants for Harwell on the same charge - failure to register - in the western part of the U.S.
The prosecutor's office says it has begun to focus more on computer crimes.
“We sent Blaine Duduit to the first part of the training on how to pretend to be a teenager on the Internet, and I was telling Lynn Brewer (Portsmouth Police) last week that I thought we needed to concentrate more on this type of crime,” said Kuhn. “The people at the sheriff's department and the Portsmouth Police, who work on sex crimes, have a very hard way to be a cop. I really respect these people and the work they do.”
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, Ext.232.