23,000 images found in Shelbyville child porn case

(WISH Photo)

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The Shelby County Prosecutors Office is continuing to investigate a child pornography operation that they’re already calling one of the biggest in state history.

Michael Sermersheim of Shelbyville is facing 54 counts of child exploitation and possession of child pornography. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 162 years in prison.

“In the last 119 days, the state police have confirmed over 23,000 disseminations (child pornography images and videos) from this man and his computer,” said Brad Landwerlen, the Shelby County prosecutor.

Court documents show he confessed when investigators showed him what they found on his computer. Documents also show he told investigators he thought he deleted them.

Prosecutors say the images and videos included child erotica, bestiality, and sexual bondage. Prosecutors say the children were as young as infants.

On the porch of Sermersheim’s 3rd Street home, 24-Hour News 8 spotted a camera tripod, and a little kid’s bike.

Neighbors are left thinking of their own kids.

“I feel a little better for my daughter but you just don’t know with people around here anymore,” said Michael Furr, who lives next door, and has a 6-year-old daughter.

Prosecutors don’t believe local kids were involved, or that any of the images were produced here.

Kids were also spotted roaming the neighborhood freely, there’s a park two blocks away, so is the Boys and Girls Club.

“You have people who are bad,” said John Hartnett, the director of the Shelbyville Boys & Girls Club. “You have to make your kids aware that there are people who are bad and you have to make sure that they understand safety precautions they have to take.”

Hartnett advises children and parents to always be aware of their surroundings, stay in touch with one another, don’t get into a stranger’s car, and know where the safe places are: whether it’s a school, church, library, or police station.

“They have to be very vigilant and understand how to keep themselves safe,” said Hartnett.

Landwerlen says they’re still investigating, and they expect additional charges against Sermersheim and additional arrests.

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