by Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A former pastor and owner of a St. Louis pizza restaurant and martial arts studio has been indicted on new federal child sex charges.
A grand jury on Wednesday handed down a superseding indictment against Loren Copp adding two charges of using interstate facilities to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity.
The indictment also added three counts of transmitting information about a minor with the intent to encourage sexual activity.
The indictment, made public Thursday, claims that Copp tried to get two girls to convince an underage girl to expose her breasts online.
Copp was already facing two charges of production of child pornography and one count each of attempted production of child porn and possession of child porn.
Court documents allege Copp took or tried to take sexually explicit photos of five different girls, and that Copp’s body appears in some of the photos, including photos showing sex acts with minors.
Copp pleaded not guilty to the original April 14 indictment and is expected to plead not guilty to the new charges.
Those accusations were disputed by a former Copp lawyer and have not been repeated, but investigators say they found child porn during the raids.
Copp’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Charles Banks, asked a judge in motions filed March 24 to throw out evidence obtained or statements made in searches of the restaurant and Copp’s home.
Banks’ motions say that officers made the initial searches without a warrant and interrogated Copp without notifying him of his right to a lawyer or his right to remain silent.
Banks also wants officers to identify the “confidential source” they used to obtain a warrant authorizing an Oct. 23, 2015, search, saying that officers misstated the source’s claims. Without the source’s claims, there was no probable cause to search then or later, he wrote.
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