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BENNINGTON — A Bennington man was charged in court Tuesday with promoting and possessing child pornography on social media, according to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

The office said the defendant, Michael Powers, 27, pleaded not guilty to all his charges: felony counts of promotion of child sexual abuse materials and possession of child sexual abuse materials, as well as resisting arrest and seven misdemeanor charges.

The criminal case is the result of a multi-agency investigation, including the execution of residential and online data search warrants, the attorney general’s office said in a release Tuesday afternoon.

It said the investigation started when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded CyberTipline reports to the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, saying a state resident was distributing suspected images of child pornography on the social media platform Instagram.

Law enforcement eventually identified Powers as the source of the suspected illegal content on SnapChat accounts, the release states. When police arrested Powers on Tuesday morning, he reportedly tried to resist arrest but was safely taken into custody without further incident.

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An on-scene forensic examination of his smartphone allegedly revealed additional images of child pornography.

The attorney general’s office said the court has released Powers back to the community under certain conditions while his case is ongoing. These include ordering Powers to stay away from minors as well as prohibiting him from accessing the internet or using devices that can access the internet.

The VT-ICAC Task Force investigates cases of child sexual exploitation on the internet, including the production and online distribution of child sexual abuse materials. The Task Force also provides forensic examination services, technical assistance, law enforcement training and public education and outreach.

Agencies affiliated with the Task Force include the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vermont State Police, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bennington Police Department.


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