Former Law. Co. reserve deputy sheriff arrested for possession, promotion of child pornography

Steve Chapman

Suspect occasionally provided security for Miller schools, although alleged crimes unrelated to district
A former reserve deputy sheriff with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s office has been terminated from the LCSO after being arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for allegedly possessing and promoting child pornography. Joseph Ferzely, 33, was arrested and booked into the Greene County Jail on Wednesday, Feb. 5. According to online records, he was released after posting a $25,000 bond on Friday, Feb. 7.
According to the probable cause statement in the case, a member of the MSHP was “conducting an online file sharing investigation in the distribution of child pornography” on Dec. 24, 2019, and as part of the investigation, downloaded a file from an IP address that was making it available. The file was described as a 36 minute, 13 second video of three girls, approximately between the ages of 10 to 12, engaging in sexual activity with an adult male.
Using a Greene County search warrant, investigators learned from the Internet provider on Jan. 27 that the IP address was being used for service at Ferzely’s residence in Springfield. On Feb. 5, using a Greene County search warrant, investigators went to Ferzely’s residence and found a computer in the living room matching the IP address in question. According to the probable cause statement, investigators found multiple images and videos “which showed children engaged in sexual conduct.” In the probable cause statement, the investigator described two of the “several” videos found on the computer. One was a color video, eight minutes and 42 seconds in length, showing a 10-year-old-girl. The second was a color video, 11 minutes and 12 seconds in length, showing a 10 or 11-year-old girl. Each video involved sexual activity with an adult male.
Investigators contacted Ferzely at his place of employment, but he declined to be interviewed. Ferzely’s wife told investigators the computer where the files were found was primarily used by him; she doesn’t need to use it because she has her own laptop. She also said she had seen Ferzely use it to download adult pornography and told investigators she could not think of another person who could have used the computer to view or download the child pornography.
In a statement, Sheriff Brad DeLay, of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, stated Ferzely was terminated from the LCSO “as soon as I was notified that he had been arrested.” DeLay also said Ferzely became a full-time jailer with the LCSO in 2016 and worked there for a little over a year before leaving for private employment. He said Ferzely afterwards continued to have a reserve commission with the department “off and on” until his arrest on Feb. 5.
While he was still a reserved deputy sheriff, Ferzely was present on the Miller R-II campus occasionally to provide security. After learning of Ferzely’s arrest, Dr. Dustin Storm, superintendent of Miller Schools, sent a letter home to parents assuring them that none of Ferzely’s alleged crimes involved the district.
“Officer Ferzely was on our campus at times during the 2019-2020 school year to provide security,” Storm wrote in the letter. “The district was notified by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that their initial investigation has not uncovered anything associated with the Miller R-II School District or the district’s students.”
Storm also informed parents that Ferzely had been terminated from the LCSO and asked that anyone with any information regarding Ferzely should contact him (Storm) or the MSHP.
Ferzely is charged with one count of promoting child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography. Each of three counts are classified as a Class B Felony, punishable with a prison sentence ranging from five to 15 years.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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