The former editor of a left-leaning political news site reportedly has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, according to authorities in Massachusetts.
Slade Sohmer, 44, who until last month was editor-in-chief of the video-driven news site The Recount, was released on $100,000 bail on Monday after he was charged in Massachusetts court with possessing and disseminating “hundreds of child pornography images and videos,” according to The Berkshire Eagle.
Sohmer — who also has worked as a camp counselor for a New York City-based nonprofit — was arrested at his home in Otis, Mass. on Friday, weeks after law enforcement officials confiscated his electronic devices after obtaining a search warrant, the newspaper reported.
He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of dissemination of child pornography.
If convicted, Sohmer faces minimum mandatory sentences of 10 years in state prison if convicted of dissemination of child pornography and five years if convicted of possession of child pornography.
Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey said this was one of the most “egregious” cases of its kind that she has come across.
A spokesperson at The Recount’s parent company The News Movement told The Post has Sohmer “is no longer editor-in-chief” of the site “following a company restructure exercise in early October to focus on our editorial and commercial plans.”
The Post has sought comment from Sohmer.
According to Sohmer’s LinkedIn page, his resume includes stints at SiriusXM Radio, HyperVocal, Mic, and Beme, the now-defunct video news company that was once bought out by CNN.
His LinkedIn page also indicates that Sohmer since 2010 has worked as a co-director at Camp Power, a nonprofit which “provides kids from New York City’s most underfunded and underserved neighborhoods with freedom and encouragement that are often lacking in their communities back in the city.”
Officials at Camp Power couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Court documents cited by The Berkshire Eagle allege that Sohmer’s phone contained disturbing video clips showing boys believed to be as young as three years of age being raped and forced to perform sex acts by adults.
Authorities were tipped off to Sohmer’s alleged proclivities by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which reportedly informed the Massachusetts State Policy Cyber Crime Unit that somebody sent a suspicious video on Snapchat in late September of last year.
The video is alleged to have shown a boy around 11 years of age masturbating, according to court documents cited by The Berkshire Eagle.
Authorities later traced the video to an IP address that allegedly originated from Sohmer’s home internet account, The Berkshire Eagle reported.
On Oct. 18, Berkshire police seized electronic devices from Sohmer’s home in Otis. Investigators alleged that one of Sohmer’s phones was used to send 53 videos which contained child pornography, according to the report.
Prosecutors also allege that Sohmer was filmed instructing a minor to perform sex acts. The child has since been identified, according to The Berkshire Eagle.
Sohmer will likely face additional charges as a result of the child being identified, it was reported.
“We went from just dissemination of child pornography to production of child pornography,” Shelvey told Judge Danielle Williams of Southern Berkshire District Court on Monday.