Ex-editor in chief of left-leaning website arrested on charges of child pornography with victims as young as three

OTIS, MA - According to the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office, a former editor-in-chief of a popular left-leaning news website has been arrested and is now facing child pornography charges. 

In the press release, the district attorney stated that the suspect, identified as 44-year-old Slade Sohmer, is accused of possessing and distributing hundreds of child abuse material, including images depicting the rape of a child who was around four years old. 

According to the Daily Mail, Sohmer, who resides in Otis, Massachusetts, was arrested on Friday, November 10th, at his home after police obtained a search warrant for his devices. 

The ex-editor-in-chief for The Recount was released on Monday, November 13th, on a $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of dissemination of child pornography. He has been ordered by a judge to have no access to the internet, to engage in location notifications with a parole officer and to avoid contact with minors.

According to investigators, they found footage showing boys as young as four being raped and forced to perform oral sex acts by adults. Authorities reportedly received a tip back in June that sparked the investigation into Sohmer and then in October, his phones and multiple electronic devices were seized. 

Police said that detectives allegedly found more than a thousand explicit images and videos, hundreds of which depicted child sex abuse images, with children as young as three or four being assaulted. 

Investigators also said that they found messages sent through Telegram Messenger in which Sohmer allegedly discussed luring, kidnapping and raping children with an unidentified individual. According to a statement from the website, The Recount said that Sohmer has not worked for them since early October. 

Sohmer previously worked as a camp counselor for a nonprofit in New York, as shown on his LinkedIn, which also says that he has worked as a co-director at Camp Power since 2010. Sohmer was the editor-in-chief at The Recount for nearly four years before being removed from his position shortly after the investigation began. 

According to the New York Post, Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey said that this is one of the most "egregious" cases of its kind that she has come across.

Prosecutors also allege that Sohmer was filmed instructing a minor to perform sexual acts and that that child has since been identified. Sohmer will likely face additional charges as a result of the child being identified. Shelvey said, "We went from just dissemination of child pornography to production of child pornography."

Authorities were reportedly tipped off to Sohmer's alleged actions by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which then informed the Massachusetts State Policy Cyber Crime Unit that somebody sent a suspicious video on Snapchat in late September 2022. 

That video allegedly shows a boy around 11-years-old masturbating. Authorities later traced the video to an IP address that allegedly originated from Sohmer's home internet account. Investigators allege that one of Sohmer's phones was used to send 53 videos, which contained child pornography. 

If convicted, Sohmer faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in state prison for the dissemination of child pornography charges and five years if convicted of possession of child pornography. 
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