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December 06, 2013

LITTLE ROCK – A Bauxite man arrested earlier this year by agents from the Attorney General’s Office was sentenced Thursday to 310 years in prison after being found guilty by a Saline County jury of multiple felony child-pornography charges, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today.

Michael E. Rea, 44, of Bauxite, was convicted of 20 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child and four counts of computer exploitation of a child.

Jurors deliberated for approximately 20 minutes before finding Rea guilty during a one-day trial before Saline County Circuit Judge Robert Herzfeld.

The jury recommended the maximum sentence of 40 years in prison on each of the exploitation counts and 30 years on each of the child-pornography counts. Herzfeld ordered the sentences for each of the exploitation counts and five of the child-pornography counts to be served consecutively for a total of 310 years. The remaining counts will run concurrently.

“This jury sent a very clear message that criminals involved in the despicable act of exploiting our children deserve the maximum sentence under the law,” McDaniel said. “I am grateful to the jurors for their time and attention in this serious matter, and I appreciate the cooperative effort among agents from my office and law enforcement agencies in Saline and Hot Spring counties to secure this conviction.”

Rea, a Level 3 sex offender, was arrested in January while on probation for a 2010 sexual assault conviction.

The Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit began investigating Rea in October 2012 after officials from the Malvern Police Department notified the Attorney General’s Office that they suspected child pornography was being possessed at Rea’s residence.

Special Agent Chad Meli with the Attorney General’s Office accompanied a Saline County probation officer to Rea’s residence in the 6000 block of Sutton Road in Bauxite. At that time, multiple images of child pornography were found on a laptop computer at the residence.

Rea is being held in the Saline County Detention Center awaiting transfer to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

Meli and Special Agent Jeff Shackelford, who runs the Cyber Crimes Unit’s Forensic Lab, testified for the State. Assistant Attorney General Will Jones and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Adam Warford from Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady’s office represented the State at trial.