Tyndall Man Used MeWe App to Share Child Pornography

TYNDAL, SD – A Tyndal man is accused of using the social media app MeWe to share images of child pornography.

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Tyndall, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of Child Pornography was sentenced on October 13, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol.

According to an NBC report, “There is a trend toward extremist messaging on MeWe as a result of groups being kicked off of Facebook for violating its policies. This can result in severe language and messaging, something parents should keep in mind when talking about online safety with their children.”

Paul Hovorka, age 25, was sentenced to 50 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Hovorka was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 4, 2020.  He pled guilty on July 30, 2020.

The conviction stemmed from incidents between June 15, 2019, and November 21, 2019, when Hovorka accessed child pornography using a private social media network known as “MeWe.”  Using the “MeWe” app, he uploaded images of child pornography and shared images of child pornography with other users of the “MeWe” app.  After receiving a cybertip of the illegal activity, law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant and discovered child pornography on two of Hovorka’s cell phones.

This case was investigated by South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.

Hovorka is required to report to the U.S. Marshals Service on October 29, 2020.