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City man charged with 189 counts of child porn

The more than 150 photos city police allegedly found on Troy Lawson’s cellphone led them to the conclusion “that he has a sexual interest in children,” according to an affidavit.

Lawson, 53, of 916 Cemetery St., was arrested last month on 50 felony counts of possession of child pornography based on pictures that were initially discovered on his phone, police alleged. They seized his telephone after filing a search warrant for the device in early December.

“There are screenshots of young girls in bikinis on there. I have nothing to hide,” Lawson told police.

However, in one folder on the phone were dozens of photos of nude minors, police allege. Two weeks after Lawson’s arrest, District Judge Christian Frey threw out all but three of the felony counts because at Lawson’s preliminary hearing, the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the charges. There was only substantial testimony presented to support three of the offenses, Frey said.

This week, city police refiled the 47 charges and added 142 felony counts of possession of child pornography after new evidence came to light in the case through two additional search warrants related to the cellphone.

Found on the phone through additional searches were a total of 189 photos investigators considered child pornography, police alleged. There were numerous additional photos of nude minors ranging in ages 1 to 8, police said.

While the affidavit for the initial case was only two pages, the affidavit for the second one was more than a dozen pages and provided very specific descriptive details for each of the alleged pornographic images.

“I just want to keep doing what I am doing and work,” Lawson told District Judge Denise Dieter at his arraignment Thursday night. The judge denied Lawson bail so he was automatically committed to the Lycoming County Prison.

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