Man who allegedly photographed himself molesting 2-year-old indicted

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A New Boston, Texas, man accused of sending pornographic photos of himself sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl was indicted by a Bowie County grand jury last week.

Joseph Leatherman, 28, allegedly emailed five sexually graphic photos of himself with a 2-year-old female relative via AOL. America Online notified authorities after flagging the images Aug. 9, according to a probable cause affidavit.

At a hearing to address Leatherman’s continued lock-up last week in Bowie County, Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said she expects federal authorities to levy charges related to child pornography while the state of Texas intends to prosecute Leatherman for the actual alleged abuse. Crisp said the state’s plea offer to Leatherman for his alleged sexual abuse is life in prison.

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The images allegedly were sent by infantryman903@aol and linked to Leatherman. They reportedly depict a man wearing camouflage boxer brief underwear and the young girl in a sexual pose. Investigators determined the girl is a relative of Leatherman’s based on an unusual birthmark seen on her body.

The charge with which Leatherman has been charged in Bowie County is punishable by a minimum of 25 years, or 99 to life. Federal charges alluded to by Crisp in the federal system haven’t been filed.

Leatherman is scheduled to appear for arraignment on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 6 next months next month before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart. Meanwhile Leatherman remains in Bowie County custody. Bail is set at $500,000.

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