‘I knew it was wrong’ | Kegan Kline sentenced to 40 years in child pornography case

In March, Kline pleaded guilty to 25 charges, ranging from child exploitation and possession of child pornography to obstruction of justice.
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 8:12 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MIAMI COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA) - A judge has sentenced Kegan Kline, the Peru man who admitted to using the catfish social media profiles “anthony_shots” and “Emily Ann” to contact his underage victims, to 40 years in prison.

Kline will also serve three years probation as part of his sentence for 25 convictions related to child pornography. Judge Timothy Spahr handed down the sentence Thursday evening.

Kline is not allowed to appeal the conviction since he pleaded guilty to the charges. But he is able to appeal the sentence, which he told the judge he plans to do.

“It is really important, days like today, being able to provide justice to the innumerable victims that Kegan Kline impacted,” Miami County Deputy Prosecutor Courtney Alwine said after the sentencing. “It’s some of the most important work that you could do as a prosecutor, and we are immensely proud.”

During sentencing July 27, State Police Commander Christopher Cecil testified. Cecil did the forensic examinations of the electronic devices seized from Kline’s home in 2017, but he claims he was not asked to analyze them until 2020. Cecil said he did a forensic exam on seven devices: five phones, a tablet and an iPod.

Cecil testified Kline’s devices had several social media apps and had profiles of Emily Ann and anthony_shots. Cecil claims the Emily Ann profile targeted girls 12 to 18 years old. The profile would then direct the girls to Kline’s real social media profile and would ask, “Would you have sex with my dad?” The victims of the Emily Ann account were from all over the country.

Cecil testified the Anthony Shots catfish profile was on Instagram and Snapchat. Kline’s internet searches included child pornography terms.

Cecil claims investigators were able to identify six or seven underage female victims of Kline’s crimes among the more than 100 sexual photos on his devices.

When questioned by the defense, Cecil said there was no evidence Kline ever paid for photos or ever met anyone in person that he messaged online.

State Police Detective David Vido testified he began working on the Kline case in 2019. He testified Kline admitted to making the anthony_shots profile and receiving over 100 photos and 20 videos of underage girls that were sexually explicit. Vido testified that Kline claimed he never shared images with his father, his father did not have access to his phone, and his father did not know much about social media.

Vido testified that, while in jail, Kline has been reaching out to random women soliciting sexual conversations. Vido claims Kline even got his mother to provide contact information for women. As the Kline case gained attention, Vido testified women also started reaching out to Kline in jail. Vido said Kline tried to get sexual conversations going with the women and offered to provide information about his case and other cases in exchange for sexual conversations.

Miami County Probation Officer Cathy Knight testified Kline told her he was angry no women would contact his real dating profile, so he created a fake one. She said Kline claimed he was addicted to pornography, and soliciting images from girls made him feel wanted. Knight said Kline wants a chance to show he can change and that he wants to apologize to his victims. Knight testified Kline was aware of his association with the Delphi murders case, as police claimed the anthony_shots account was the last to communicate with Libby German, and capitalize on that to get money in jail. Knight said Kline claims he is attracted to teenagers, not kids. She recommended a 25-year sentence for him and said she believes he is a risk to the community and likely to reoffend.

Kline read a prepared statement while crying, “I was in a deep state of depression and shut in my house. I wish I would have made choices to get a high school diploma and driver’s license. I made fake profiles because of my loneliness.” Kline went on to say, “I knew it was wrong. I never left the house. I never had any intention of meeting anyone. I take full responsibility. I apologize to everyone, sorry to each and every victim.” Kline also apologized to the man whose photos he used for the anthony_shots profile.

The prosecution claims an aggravating factor in the sentencing should be Kline’s behavior in jail as he allegedly was soliciting sexual conversations from woman. The prosecution said Kline went after 12- and 13-year-old girls who did not have the maturity to protect themselves. “He does whatever he can to take control of his victims,” the prosecutors said.

The prosecution asked for Kline to be sentenced to a total of 50 years for the 25 charges.

Kline’s defense recommended 16 years with five years suspended. They only want Kline in prison for a maximum of 11 years. The defense argued Kline did not create or ask for many of the images he is charged with possessing or disseminating.

Background on charges

In March, Kline pleaded guilty to 25 charges, ranging from child exploitation and possession of child pornography to obstruction of justice.

He was scheduled to be sentenced May 18, but Miami County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Spahr granted a continuance that day. In requesting the continuance, Kline’s defense team claimed he needed time to review evidence Kline said he hasn’t seen. The defense then said Kline may want to withdraw his guilty plea based on that evidence.

At the end of May, two new attorneys were announced as representing Kline after his former attorney filed a motion to no longer represent him. Kline’s new attorneys informed the court that Kline does not intend to withdraw his guilty plea in his child pornography case.

It’s been more than three years since charges were first filed against him.

Kline previously told the judge he thinks he is bipolar and schizophrenic, but he was able to make the clear decision to plead guilty. The judge walked Kline through each charge to make sure he understood what he was pleading guilty to.

After pleading guilty, Kline gave sworn testimony about the offenses he committed. Kline admitted receiving photos of girls under 18 showing their bare breasts, along with other graphic photos. Kline admitted having pornographic images of girls under 12 years old.

Kline admitted using the catfish social media profiles “anthony_shots” and “Emily Ann” to contact his victims. He also admitted that he obstructed justice by deleting social media apps from his devices.

Kline will also have to register as a violent sexual offender when he is released from prison.

Background on the case

The child pornography and exploitation charges stemmed from a search of Kline’s Peru, Indiana, home on Feb. 25, 2017, just 11 days after the bodies of Liberty German and Abigail Williams were discovered. The FBI, Indiana State Police and Peru Police Department took part in serving the search warrant, and the investigation was focused on Kline allegedly soliciting underage girls.

According to a probable cause affidavit out of Miami County obtained by 13News, Kline created the “anthony_shots” account approximately six months prior to when investigators interviewed him in February 2017.

He allegedly said he created the account to contact both girls he knew and girls he did not.

Court documents show Kline saying he would talk to girls, even if they were under the age of 16, and that he found them on Instagram and then told them to message him on Snapchat.

Kline allegedly claimed to have received pictures from all of the girls he chatted with and had saved them.

According to court documents, investigators talked to Kline shortly after he returned from Las Vegas. Investigators said he told them he was “f****ed and he should’ve left.” Kline said he had planned to leave the area that day, after his dad fell asleep, according to the court documents.

In that probable cause affidavit, Kline said he received sexual photos and videos of the girls he was messaging.

Investigators seized six devices from Kline, including smartphones, a tablet and an iPod touch as part of the 2017 search warrant on the child pornography case.

The iPod Touch was last used in May 2015 and contained sexually explicit images of children, according to court documents. Locations for some of the images came back to Hammond or Royal Center, Indiana.

One iPhone, last used in May 2015, contained sexual images of girls around the age of 14. The geo-location on the images came back to cities in Indiana, including Bunker Hill, Galveston, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Monterey and Royal Center.

A Samsung Galaxy phone, last used in June 2015, contained sexually explicit images of children between 12 and 17 years old.

Another iPhone investigators found contained sexual images of children between 12 and 17, adults involved in sexual acts with children between the ages of 3 and 11, and images of drugs and Kline with a black handgun. That phone was last used in November 2016.

The tablet was last used in March 2016 and showed conversations on Facebook Messenger and the user suggesting the conversations be moved to Kik Messenger or Snapchat, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Another Samsung Galaxy phone recovered was factory reset on Feb. 23, 2017. A factory reset essentially wipes all user data from a device. Investigators were able to get information on the device after the reset. It included discussions about meeting people in Las Vegas and prostitution.

On Feb. 27, 2017, Kline contacted police, claiming he had located his iPhone 5. Investigators said they found images of females posing nude, but investigators could not determine their ages. Investigators also found much of the data from Facebook, Instagram, MeetMe, Snapchat and Twitter had been deleted.

A review of the phone found that hours after police released him the day they searched his home, Feb. 25, 2017, he had uninstalled and deleted Snapchat and Instagram. The following day, MeetMe was uninstalled and deleted. The browser search history had also been deleted the morning of Feb. 27 before the phone was turned in to authorities.

Police have previously questioned Kline about whether his father had access to his phone or the account. Kline has said he would not let his father have access to his phone for long periods of time.

Police believe Kowalski’s teen modeling photos of police officer Vincent Kowalski were taken and used to catfish young girls. He said his photos have been used on fake social media accounts since 2014.

“You just search my name, there’s a hundred accounts, fake accounts, of me,” Kowalski told 13News in December 2021.

Latest News

Latest News