Flathead man faces child porn charges

FLATHEAD COUNTY

kevinl By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
POSTED: 7:16 PM Sep 25 2013   UPDATED: 10:01 PM Sep 25 2013
KALISPELL, Mont. -

A 19-year-old Flathead man has pleaded not guilty to child sex abuse, seven months after a Flathead High School Teacher found porn on Joshua Smith-Monson's flash drive left in a school owned computer.

We read through the charging affidavit, and found Smith-Monson reportedly admitted he'd downloaded pornographic images of young girls at a public library.

The 19-year-old was a high school senior when prosecutors accused him of having 11 images of child porn.

On February 4, a Flathead High School teacher reportedly discovered the photos when Smith-Monson left his flash drive at a computer at the school.

The affidavit claims Smith-Monson later admitted that he downloaded the pictures on two separate occasions from a public library.

Court papers don't explain what library Smith-Monson allegedly used, but when we spoke directly with library officials in Kalispell, they told us they try to actively police what people are doing on computers.

"We really do want this to be a safe place for all people within the community so we do pay pretty close attention to generally what's going on," said Rishara Finsel, the Senior Librarian for Public Services.  She says if they do find anything illegal, they take immediate action.

"We do report anything that we're aware of that's illegal."

We read over the rules and regulations of computer us at the Flathead County Public Library and in it, it says "internet resources accessible through FCLS (Flathead County Library Services) are provided equally to all users, with the understanding that it is the individual user's responsibility to demonstrate judgment.”

The bottom line is while downloading porn is against the rules, there are no filters or blocked sites at the public library.

"Whether it's for computers or anything else we do have an internal process where we keep track of noteworthy things that occur within the libraries."

We spoke with County Attorneys today to ask them why it took from February when authorities reportedly found the images, until May to charge Smith-Monson. They weren't able to give a definitive answer but say they work as quickly as they can to move cases along, and sometimes investigations can takes days, weeks or even months.