An 18 year old Gainesville man faces over 50 counts of sexual exploitation of a child following an investigation stemming from a cell phone.
Hall County Sheriff's Investigators were informed by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office in the fall that a cellphone, either in control of or in possession by Justin Jeffrey Edge, contained inappropriate images, according to Sheriff's Lt. Scott Ware.
"The original source came from an anonymous tipster, and based on that, our investigators controlled the phone, applied for a search warrant for the contents of the phone and relinquished the phone to investigators with the GBI," said Ware.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation searched the phone and found at least 54 images depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct. Ware said that included still photos and videos, but was unable to confirm if the images were one specific individual or multiple people.
Ware said Edge was arrested Sunday at a residence on Couch Circle; warrants for 54 counts of sexual exploitation of a child were applied for and issued Friday.
Edge is in the Hall County Jail.
"The thing is, once this stuff goes out, it can't be taken back," said Ware regarding the common behavior among teens and young adults known as sexting. "It's out there and it can get in the wrong hands so quickly, whether the person that took the picture means for it to only go to their friends, it doesn't always go down that way. I would encourage anybody, particularly young children, to be very, very cautious of this kind of thing."
Ware said the case remains under investigation.