Mount Pleasant man pleads guilty in pornography case

COLUMBUS – A Mount Pleasant man affiliated with a church missionary program in Romania has pleaded guilty to one count of illegal receipt of child pornography.

Ryan D. Kasler, 31, of Mount Pleasant entered the guilty plea Thursday in U.S. District Court. The agreement carries a sentence of 180 months in prison.

According to testimony presented by a Homeland Security Investigations agent during the plea hearing, Kasler was identified during an investigation by postal inspectors involving child pornography disseminated through the U.S. mail. Records indicated Kasler bought 17 separate videos or photo collections through the mail.

He was arrested Dec. 6 after a federal agents raided his house, seizing videos, a computer and storage media containing child pornography.

He has been in police custody since his arrest.

Kasler was director of the Romanian Mission operated by the First Christian Church in Martins Ferry, according to the church’s website, and he directed the mission’s day-to-day affairs and served as onsite missionary in Arad and Ghioroc, Romania.

The mission is working to construct a children’s home in Romania, according to the website.

Between Jan. 28, 2006, and Feb. 15, 2011, Kasler placed orders and purchased films and photos on 13 occasions, according to the affidavit filed by a U.S. Postal Inspector.

The court will conduct a pre-sentence investigation prior to deciding whether or not to accept the terms of the plea agreement.

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.