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Former GOP legislative aide sentenced for child porn

Carter Ballmann
Posted: Jun. 24, 2019 4:12 pm Updated: Jun. 25, 2019 12:34 pm

A former state legislative aide will spend five years in prison for trying to elicit sex from someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but was actually an undercover detective.

U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on Friday sentenced 25-year-old Carter Clinton Ballmann to five years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons on a single count of attempted receipt of child pornography. He will also spend five years on federal supervision following his release.

A count of sexual exploitation of children was dropped as part of a February plea agreement with prosecutors. Ketchmark, during the hearing, also recommended Ballmann be screened for admission to a sex offender treatment program, to be completed as he serves his sentence.

Ballmann’s attorney, Christopher Slusher of Columbia, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ballmann’s arrest was the result of a child predator sting by the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force. According to court documents, a detective placed a post on an unnamed cell phone app posing as a 14-year-old and titled “I think I want to hook up with my teacher.”

By the following day the decoy account received numerous private messages. One of those was from Ballmann using the name “Cameron.” The decoy and Ballman continued to correspond and he sent his personal cell phone number as a means to communicate.

Through text messaging he provided specific details about sex acts he wanted to engage in with the decoy, according to court documents. He also tried to persuade the decoy to sneak out of her home to meet him for sex and to send nude photos, according to court documents.

Investigators were able to use Ballmann’s phone number to locate his Facebook page, which contained an image of himself identical to one sent to the decoy. He was arrested on April 17 at the Missouri State Capitol.

At the time of Ballmann’s arrest, authorities obtained a search warrant for his cellphone and located the picture the decoy sent, as well as the picture he sent the decoy, according to court documents. Investigators also located searches made on the device during the time he was communicating with the decoy for teenage pornography and various Columbia middle school honor rolls and schedules.

Ballmann was a legislative assistant to Rep. Mark Matthiesen, R-Maryland Heights, but Matthiesen said in a statement in April that he fired Ballmann after the arrest.

“I am stunned and deeply concerned by Ballmann’s arrest and the extremely serious nature of the criminal charges filed against him,” Matthiesen said in the statement. “While I think it’s important to allow the legal system to determine his guilt or innocence, I have made the immediate decision to end his employment with my office.”

Prior to working for Matthiesen, in 2016 Ballman served on the winning campaign of state Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring and was appointed by the Missouri Republican Party Regional Field Director for St. Charles County, according to a press release posted on the Missouri GOP website.

“Carter’s passion for our party and background in Missouri politics make him a key player in the fight to defeat Claire McCaskill,” said Alex Meyer, RNC State Director for Missouri, in the now removed post. “We are thrilled to have him on our team as we continue to build out our ground game and focus on our efforts to keep Missouri red.”

ppratt@columbiatribune.com

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