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Monongalia, Preston County CASA for Kids staff member facing child porn charges | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An office staff member at the CASA for Kids Program of Monongalia and Preston Counties has been charged with distribution and exhibiting materials depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

State police said they received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Aug. 29 about an image uploaded by Jessica Joelle Pepper, 28, of Morgantown, that showed a prepubescent female engaged in sexual conduct.

Court documents said investigators confirmed Pepper was the person responsible by verifying the IP address and conducting a search of her Wildwood Street home. During the search, police seized a laptop and cell phone belonging to Pepper.

According to investigators, Pepper said she was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Monongalia and Preston counties and that she had downloaded and sent child pornography multiple times.

Investigators said additional charges could be filed after a forensic examination of Pepper’s electronic devices is complete.

According to reports, Pepper has been terminated and CASA no knowledge of abuse cases involving Pepper.

CASA released a statement Friday.

“As child advocates, we see the effects abuse and neglect have on children daily and are heartbroken for all children who are victims of exploitation. The safety and well-being of all children is always our primary concern. We are deeply disturbed any time that a child’s safety and well-being may be put in jeopardy,” the organization said.

Pepper was hired in January as a Transitional Youth Coordinator with a $25,000 grant from the Milan Puskar Foundation.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20 in Monongalia County Magistrate Court.

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