Child porn charges announced against former volunteer wrestling coach

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – A former Westfield High School volunteer wrestling coach is now facing federal child pornography charges.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced the charges Wednesday.

28-year-old Christopher Rennard of Westfield faces two counts of shipping or transporting by means of computer visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, as well as possessing and distributing child pornography.

“When the most vulnerable of our citizens are victimized, my office will aggressively do everything in its power to protect them,” said Hogsett in a news release. “Child predators around the state are on notice; we will find you, investigate you and prosecute you with the full force of federal law.”

Officials say their investigation started with a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, from the online storage service “Dropbox”.

That tip notified authorities that someone had uploaded child pornography files onto their server.

Detectives found those files were viewed by 28-year-old Christopher Rennard, a mechanic, and also a volunteer wrestling coach at Westfield High School in 2013.

Court documents show the files on “Dropbox” showed “nude prepubescent” children engaged in “sexually explicit conduct.”

Officials said the IP address associated with those files, and an email address, belong to Rennard, who lives in Westfield with his wife.

Court documents also show Rennard told police he used the iPhone chat app Omegele to find other people who liked child porn. He told a detective they would trade or email them to each other. He also told investigators he is sexually attracted to male and female children, as young as seven years old. He told them he views child porn twice a week, sometimes daily, and uses iPhone apps Skype and Kik to have cybersex with children as young as 13.

24-Hour News 8 knocked on the door of a home listed for Christopher Rennard. There was no answer.

Officials say Rennard faces up to 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Westfield Washington Schools Superintendent Mark Keen told 24-Hour News 8 they do background checks on all volunteers, and nothing came up on that, that would indicate this.

Westfield Washington Schools released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

On Friday, April 18, 2014, administrators at Westfield High School were notified by individuals from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Hamilton County Child Exploitation Task Force of pending criminal charges regarding Mr. Chris Rennard.  Mr. Rennard served as a volunteer wrestling coach for Westfield High School for only the 2013 season.

Westfield Washington Schools have high expectations for ethical behavior in our district among all individuals working with our students.  We will do everything in our power to uphold those standards.  The school system will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities during their investigation.  In the initial investigation, the law enforcement authorities were clear that there is currently no indication of victimization of any Westfield High School students.  If anyone has any additional information regarding this situation, please contact Special Agent Michael Johnson with the US Department of Homeland Security at 317-248-4151 or Detective John Pirics with the Hamilton County Child Exploitation Task Force at 317-595-3361.

Westfield Washington Schools will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the district is safe and nurturing for all children at all times.

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