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Great Falls man charged after being found in possession of child pornography

William Lee Darnell
Posted at 10:12 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 12:29:19-04

GREAT FALLS — William Lee Darnell has been charged in Great Falls after he reportedly was found in possession of child pornography.

Court documents state that law enforcement received a tip in April 2021 through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about Darnell.

Officers obtained a search warrant and discovered numerous images of child sexual abuse material (referred to as CSAM in court documents).

On July 7th, Darnell was interviewed by a Great Falls police officer. According to court documents, Darnell told the officer that he had downloaded a web browser to his computer that allowed him to access the "dark web," and he viewed and downloaded numerous sexually explicit images of young girls.

He told the officer that he saved the images on his computer, but at some point, he said he felt guilty because he knew it was wrong, and he deleted the images.

He told the officer that he "never touched kids."

When the officer asked Darnell what he searched for on the "dark web," Darnell requested an attorney, and the interview ended.

Darnell has been charged with one felony count of sexual abuse of children.

Bail for Darnell was set at $50,000; court documents state that Darnell "presents a risk to the community for his continued use and attempts to hide his behaviors which prey upon children."