SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A man from Springfield was indicted for the sexual exploitation of three minors on Tuesday, May 24.
Jason T. Bernard, 52, was indicted by a federal grand jury after being detained in federal custody without bond since May 5. Bernard was indicted on charges of three counts of sexual exploitation of a child, one count of using the internet and a cell phone to attempt to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity, and one count of receiving child pornography.
Authorities said the investigation began when nine tips were received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on April 7, involving 145 images of child pornography allegedly uploaded by Bernard.
A release from the United States Department of Justice said an investigation into Bernard found he had allegedly sent funds to one 15-year-old victim in exchange for pornographic images and videos, with the victim saying this exchange began when she was 13. Bernard had sent a total of 48 payments totaling to $3,210.
In the release, the 15-year-old victim also told investigators Bernard had offered to pay them $10,000 to meet him in person but was refused, and then sent the victim $500 to buy a train ticket to come meet him. The victim kept the money and blocked Bernard from all social media accounts.
After a search warrant was executed on May 5, authorities found Bernard allegedly purchased sexually explicit images or videos from at least two additional child victims.
A trial of Bernard’s charges has not yet been scheduled.