Federal prosecutors charged a former award-winning ABC News producer Tuesday night on allegations of transporting images depicting the sexual abuse of children.
James Gordon Meek, 53, of Arlington, Virginia, who was a producer who covered terrorism and major crimes for the network, was arrested after the file hosting service Dropbox tipped off authorities about five suspected videos of child sexual exploitation material in an account. The information was ultimately received by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
FBI authorities conducted a raid of Meek’s residence in April 2022, and he resigned shortly after.
“Law enforcement seized multiple devices that allegedly contained evidence of the transportation of images of child sexual abuse,” authorities said in a news release.
Former ABC News Producer Arrested for Transportation of Child Pornography
James Gordon Meek, 53
TW: highly explicit descriptions of child sex abuse in arrest affidavit https://t.co/C9kC7l2Jxg pic.twitter.com/04pYUrOPmQ
— An Open Secret (@AnOpenSecret) February 1, 2023
According to court documents, devices belonging to the producer allegedly contained images depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct and multiple chat conversations with users engaged in sexually explicit conversations where the participants expressed enthusiasm for the sexual abuse of children.
“In two of those conversations, a username allegedly associated with Meek received and distributed child sexual abuse materials through an internet-based messaging platform,” the statement reads.
Rolling Stone reported after federal agents raided Meek’s home, prosecutors claimed they found pornographic images on the producer’s iPhone 8, iPhone 6, an external hard drive, and laptop depicting the abuse of children as young as a toddler.
Meek’s iPhone 8 allegedly contained messages and child pornography exchanged with another alleged pedophile.
In the messages, Rolling Stone reported, Meek allegedly appeared to confess to previously abusing children.
“Have you ever raped a toddler girl? It’s amazing,” he allegedly wrote in one exchange, Rolling Stone reported.
Meek allegedly created a Snapchat account under the handle “hoolijax,” where he posed as a young girl to solicit pornographic material.
Authorities who interviewed one of the children on Meek’s Snapchat account found on his phone “confirmed that Meek and other men had approached her through Snapchat and had pressured her to provide pictures depicting sexually explicit conduct.”
Eugene Gorokhov, an attorney for Meek, said in a court filing reported by The Washington Post that he could provide evidence proving his client did not put the community in danger, adding Meek could be eligible for bond while his trial is pending.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a new Justice Department policy last year which outlined that in order to seize materials from a journalist, authorities would have to believe that the reporter was working for a hostile foreign power, or terrorist organization, or involved in situations like kidnappings or crimes against children.
Meek was working on a book about President Joe Biden’s pullout from Afghanistan at the time of the FBI pre-dawn raid on his home last year.
Meek was also a former senior counterterrorism adviser and investigator for the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee and worked on investigating the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013.
He has four Emmy nominations, winning one in 2017 for ABC News’ breaking news coverage.
If convicted, Meek faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum penalty of 20 years.
Ryan Saavedra contributed to this report.