CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Clarksville man, who was on the way to becoming a substitute teacher, was arrested last week and charged with possession of child pornography, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart’s office.
A release says on March 17, agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested Austin Kidd, 27, at his home. Kidd appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge Wednesday morning for a detention hearing and was ordered to be held in custody pending trial.
The criminal complaint says in March 2020, HSI Nashville received an investigative referral pertaining to Kidd and his activity on the internet in April 2019. Agents identified a Facebook account “ShadowPhoenix24,” that belonged to Kidd.
Further investigation revealed IP addresses associated with Kidd’s home address in Clarksville. Agents were also aware that in August 2019, another law enforcement agency notified the FBI of an IP address in San Antonio that was used to access online child sexual abuse and exploitation material. The San Antonio address was found to have been occupied by Kidd during the time the child sexual abuse and exploitation material was accessed before he relocated to Clarksville.
As agents investigated further, they determined the IP address associated with Kidd’s Clarksville address had accessed The Onion Router (TOR) network, an anonymizing network that hides the IP address of users. The network is commonly used by people when accessing child pornography.
Agents later obtained a federal search warrant for Kidd’s residence and seized his cell phone and other devices. To date, nearly 260 suspected images and videos depicting child sexual abuse have been found on the devices.
Investigators say they later determined that Kidd was in the final hiring process to become a substitute teacher for middle school children.
If convicted, Kidd faces up to 20 years in prison, according to authorities.