A preliminary hearing has been set for March 20th for 54-year-old Matthew C. Wright of Lebanon. Wright appeared in court Wednesday. He has been charged with two counts of promoting child pornography in the first degree and one count of possession of child pornography. Judge James Stephen Grantham refused to set a bond for Wright, and he is currently being held in the Laclede County Jail.
An investigation that began with a Cyber tip line report led to the arrest on January 29th. In November, a Lake Area Cyber Crimes Task Force member began investigating the report tied to an IP address in Lebanon. The IP was used to share child pornographic material in August 2023. During the investigation, videos and pictures of children and adults in sexually explicit positions were located on an instant messaging and video-sharing service. Law Enforcement obtained a search warrant, and during a search, two phones were seized and found to contain videos and images involving children.
The court appointed Richelle Christensen of Camden County as a special prosecutor. Wright is the former publisher of the Lebanon Daily Record Newspaper and is the husband of former Laclede County Prosecuting Attorney Angie Hemphill Wright.