The complaint says Keith E. Hook, 54, used the mobile messaging app Kik to share files in late April and early May. Hook admitted to “receiving and distributing child pornography using the Kik app both at home and while at work,” and to having done so for three or four years, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by Syracuse.com.
Investigators found about 34 images and two videos depicting child pornography on an iPod owned by Hook, according to a release from the Department of Justice. The complaint says the images and video depicted “a wide age of children including toddlers.”
Hook, who operated under the alias “Capt Hook” online, allegedly distributed child pornography via unique identifying internet addresses associated with his home address, a hotel he stayed at in West Virginia during a work conference, and the marina in Oswego, New York, where he worked for the Border Patrol.
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Border Patrol, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hook appeared Monday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, New York, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter to be apprised of the charges. If convicted, he faces a sentence of between five and 20 years, post-release supervision, a maximum fine of $250,000 and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
Hook is being held for his next hearing, scheduled for Friday.
Kik has dedicated to $10 million to safety initiatives, including the creation of a “safety advisory board” to help implement standards for user safety and content moderation, the company said in a statement emailed to HuffPost.
“We take online safety very seriously, and we’re constantly assessing and improving our trust and safety measures,” the statement read, in part. “This is a priority for us. We want all users to be safe on Kik and will continue to make Kik a safe, positive and productive place for our users to interact.”
This story has been updated with comment from Kik.