BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Northwest Arkansas man was arrested after a multi-agency investigation found that he allegedly possessed nearly 600 pieces of illegal child sexual assault material.
According to a probable cause filing, the Digital Forensic Investigations Unit of the Bentonville Police Department collaborated with the Lowell Police Department in an investigation of Kevin Don Lewis, 41, after several devices of his were seized in connection with his arrest for possession of controlled substances earlier this year.
Court documents say devices belonging to Lewis were booked into property held at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office on May 5 following his drug arrest. An associate of Lewis signed a cell phone out of police custody at the suspect’s request, then turned it over to Fayetteville police after discovering an image of child pornography on the lock screen.
The phone and other devices seized from Lewis were all analyzed by the Bentonville PD pursuant to a search warrant. During the investigation, a detective spoke with “several people familiar with” Lewis, including the mother of one of his children.
The probable cause filing states that “those individuals indicated Kevin Lewis exposed children to pornography and attempted to entice children into participating in sexually explicit conduct.” Digital artifacts recovered from his devices revealed conversations on social media and other messaging platforms between Lewis and “other subjects involved in the distribution of child pornography.”
The report states that those messages suggested that he “has offended on multiple children, including two of his own.” Others reflected his attempts to “entice females into viewing child pornography with him,” and some revealed that he openly admitted to enjoying watching it.
The affidavit continued by describing a “particularly alarming and heinous exchange” in which Lewis expressed interest in viewing an extremely violent video involving a minor. He also admitted to attempting to entice a neighbor’s child to his house.
Multiple digital artifacts recovered from his phone also reportedly showed Lewis “engaged in numerous conversations centered around the possession and distribution” of CSAM with several different parties over several months.
Lewis received and sent child pornography images and videos, as well as Child Erotica material, over the course of several months. The content of the conversations clearly conveyed that the user was actively seeking CSAM from other parties and was also exchanging CSAM with several individuals.Probable cause affidavit for Kevin Don Lewis, Benton County Circuit Court, October 12
Lowell detectives received a Digital Forensic Examination Report and a variety of evidence files from the Bentonville PD on September 23. The evidence obtained from the devices established Lewis as “the primary, if not sole, user of the devices by way of digital artifacts.”
The forensic report stated that 597 CSAM images and videos were found on his devices, with 531 of them meeting federal categorization guidelines.
Lewis was arrested on October 11. He was advised of his Miranda rights and consented to an interview at the Lowell Police Department, where he admitted to downloading child pornography. He denied having been “hands-on” in the production of any CSAM.
He also told investigators that “he could not remember ever touching a child in a sexual manner.”
He was booked into the Benton County jail on a $500,000 bond. A criminal history check found that Lewis had prior arrests and/or convictions for:
- Possession of a controlled substance, ten counts
- Criminal use of a prohibited weapon
- Possession of a firearm by certain persons
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts
- Theft by receiving
- Possession with purpose to deliver
- Failure to pay fines or costs, two counts
- DWI, two counts
- Driving while license is suspended or revoked, six counts
- Failure to appear, four counts
The probable cause affidavit requested that Lewis be charged with 597 counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.
The court ordered the suspect to have no unsupervised contact with any minor. Lewis has an appearance in Benton County Circuit Court scheduled for November 21.