HELENA – A Deer Lodge man will spend almost 3 years behind bars after he admitted to possessing child pornography.
Rex Thomas Kendall, 62, was sentenced on Thursday to 35 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell presided at sentencing.
Kendall pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2018 to possessing child porn.
An investigation began in November 2017 after the editor of the Silver State Post, which contracted with Kendall to write stories, found child porn images on a thumb drive Kendall used to submit stories to the newspaper. The editor had provided Kendall the thumb drive several months earlier. The editor had assigned Kendall two stories, which he submitted for review on the device. The editor reviewed the stories then found the child porn images when he decided to clean up the thumb drive for Kendall.
The next day, Kendall left his personal laptop in his work area at the Post’s offices. Newspaper officials, who had delivered the thumb drive to law enforcement, also turned over the laptop to investigators.
After getting search warrants, FBI investigators examined the laptop and thumb drive and found numerous images of child porn. The investigation also determined that Kendall would use the newspaper’s internet service for personal matters and that it was not unusual for him to be at the office late in the evenings or on weekends.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bartleson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Powell County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and FBI.