Elderly defendant set for February child pornography trial

Ronald Antoniello

A February trial date has been set in Miller County for a 72-year-old Fouke, Ark., man accused of possessing and distributing pornography over the internet.

Ronald Anthony Antoniello is facing 30 felony counts of possessing, distributing or viewing material involving the sexual exploitation of children. Antoniello denied his guilt at a pretrial hearing before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom last year.

Antoniello’s September 2014 arrest stems from an investigation by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crimes Division headed by Special Agent James Lett. According to search warrant documents, Lett identified Antoniello’s Internet address as the source of numerous images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children.

Some of the images showed toddlers being molested by adult men and women. During a search of Antoniello’s home Sept. 3, 2014, officers seized computer equipment, CDs, DVDs, photographs, sexual comics and playing cards, as well as handwritten notes. Antoniello was arrested subsequent to the search and remained in jail until January when he posted a $150,000 bond.

Each of the 30 counts pending against him is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and three to 10 years in prison. Assistant Attorney General Will Jones, who specializes in cyber crimes, is prosecuting the case with Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black. Jury selection is scheduled before Haltom Feb. 22.

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