Feds Charge Former ABC News Producer With Transportation of Child Pornography
Federal prosecutors have charged former ABC News producer James Gordon Meek with transportation of child pornography, according to a criminal complaint filed in Eastern Virginia on Wednesday. Meek resigned abruptly from his job shortly after federal agents raided his Arlington, Virginia home in April 2022.
Federal prosecutors say their investigation into Meek first began after the cloud storage company Dropbox tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the presence of five suspected videos of child sexual exploitation material in a Dropbox account, according to the complaint. A subsequent investigation of the tip allegedly confirmed the videos depicted child pornography and were linked to Meek’s account. That triggered an investigation which allegedly found Meek posing as a minor to solicit pornographic images of children.
After federal agents raided Meek’s home, prosecutors say they found a trove of pornographic images on the producer’s iPhone 8, iPhone 6, an external hard drive, and laptop depicting the abuse of children as young as a toddler.
When FBI agents examined Meek’s iPhone 8, they allegedly found messages he exchanged with another alleged pedophile with whom Meek traded child pornography. In the messages, Meek appeared to confess to having previously abused children. “Have you ever raped a toddler girl? It’s amazing,” he allegedly wrote in one exchange.
Meek’s attorney Eugene Gorokhov did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When Rolling Stone previously reported that prosecutors were preparing an indictment against Meek, Gorokhov said, “I cannot comment on any pending investigations, but any decisions that need to be made right now are entirely within the government’s discretion.”
Meek was a well-known figure in national security circles, both as an Emmy-winning journalist and a former counterterrorism adviser and investigator for the House Homeland Security Committee. He was coming off of a well-received documentary about special forces skirmish in Niger, and finishing up a book with a former Green Beret on the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Then he abruptly resigned from ABC News on April 27, the same day as the raid. And his name suddenly disappeared from the promotional materials for the book.
The Department of Justice took an unusually long time — eight months — to formally charge Meek. Multiple sources previously told Rolling Stone that’s because of Meek’s job as a journalist. (In October, the Biden administration formalized stringent new guidelines for how the DOJ handles investigations of reporters.) Complicating and slowing down the matter even further, these sources say, was the FBI’s alleged discovery of classified information on Meek’s laptop. The alleged possession of classified material would remain a separate matter, two of those sources told Rolling Stone at the time, and would likely not result in criminal charges.
In addition to trading child sexual abuse material with other enthusiasts, Meek allegedly approached children on Snapchat using the handle “hoolijax” in order to solicit pornographic material. Federal agents interviewed one of the children whose Snapchat account was found on Meek’s phone who “confirmed that Meek and other men had approached her through Snapchat and had pressured her to provide pictures depicting sexually explicit conduct.”
Prosecutors also say that Meek approached underage girls on the video chat app Omegle, which pairs users together at random. Federal agents say they found sexually explicit images of a 14 year old girl alongside pictures of Meek where his “nude abdomen, legs, and penis were visible.”
Meek also allegedly posed as a young girl on Instagram as part of an attempt to build his collection of child exploitation material. In one partially recovered conversation, FBI agents allegedly found a conversation in which Meek, posing as the account “taytayjader,” received explicit imagery from “from a girl who appears to be a minor.”
Meek’s case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, with “significant assistance” from local police, according to the Justice Department. He faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
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