A Nacogdoches teen who investigators say was involved in an online child pornography ring faces three felonies after a wide-reaching investigation across multiple states that drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and led to the arrest of a juvenile court judge in Wisconsin.
Jake Cooper Bostian, 18, who is a recent graduate of Central Heights High School, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to promote child pornography after investigators said he used the mobile phone messaging application Kik to view and trade at least three videos depicting prepubescent girls being sexually assaulted by men.
Bostian was arrested June 3 and booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail where he has since posted bail and was released.
The Daily Sentinel requested arrest affidavits and warrants after his arrest though the Freedom of Information Act. Release of those documents was delayed until after deadline Friday as the District Attorney’s office redacted sensitive information related to the investigation including online usernames and internet protocol addresses — a unique string of numbers used to identify devices connected to the internet.
Kik is a Canadian-based application that allows users to share text messages and photos privately. The company does not typically store users’ data and has been less proactive in cutting down on the distribution of child pornography than subsidiaries of Google and Facebook. Reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children prompted an undercover investigator in Wisconsin to infiltrate several groups on the application that he believed were distributing child pornography.
An FBI investigation revealed that a phone number associated with a Kik account used in one of those groups belonged to Bostian, according to the arrest affidavit. That phone was used to access the messaging application at his home as well as at the Piney Woods County Club, Department of Public Safety Special Agent John D. Cortinez wrote in the affidavit for Bostian’s arrest.
In April, Cortinez, DPS Special Agent Rusty Hughes and Stephen F. Austin State University Police officer Whitney Mask interrogated Bostian, who they say initially denied using the messaging service.
When asked if his phone contained explicit images of children, Bostian replied “Yes sir, probably so. You’re in that room and there is just so many coming through. You just look at them and, ok, that’s not what I was trying to go for,” according go the affidavit.
But DPS agents say that Bostian had viewed many images of child sexual abuse in the group.
“Jake Cooper Bostian had commented language within the group asking other members to post additional imagery,” Cortines wrote.
The Wisconsin investigation also led to the arrest of Circuit Judge Bret Bloome, 40, of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. The Madison State Journal reports that he was assigned to children’s court in Milwaukee County. He’s since been suspended and indicted in both state and federal court.